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Full text of "Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition : during the years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842"

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W? 3L= 111 1 ®sr 







1838, 1889, 1840, 1841, 1842. 
















- JUN 20 1308 

















AT THE FONOS 123—162 















THE NORTH 327—357 











Portrait of Commander Wm. L. Hudson, U. S. N. Drawn by A. T. Agate. 

Engraved by Jordan and Halpin, title 

Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by W. H. Dougal, 32 
Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by Jordan and 

Halpin, 91 

Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by Jordan and 

Halpin, 123 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by Alfred Jones, 142 
Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by Rawdon, 

Wright and Hatch, 165 

Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by E. G. Dunnel, 198 
Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. A. Rolph, 258 
Peacock in contact with the Ice. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by 

M. Osborne, 318 

Vincennes in Disappointment Bay. Sketched by C. Wilkes, U. S. N. En- 
graved by C. A. Jewett, 328 
Antarctic Continent. Sketched by C. Wilkes, U. S. N. Engraved by Jordan 

and Halpin, 344 

View in New Zealand. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by G. H. Cushman, 391 
New Zealand Tomb. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by Jordan and 

Halpin, 410 

Ko-towatowa. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by V. Balch, 420 

Broom Road. 


Samoan Dance. 

Corrobory Dance. 
Forest, Illawarra 




Swinging, Tahiti. 
Fishery, Tahiti. 

Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by T. House, 10 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by A. C. Warren, 45 
Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by Smillie and Hin- 
Harbour op Pago-pago. Sketched by C. Wilkes, U. S. N. Engraved by 

V. Balch, 
Apolima. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by E. Hobart, 

Papalangi Ship. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. A. Rolph, 

Acrostichum Grande. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. A. Rolph, 
Settler's Cottage. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by W. H. Ellis, 
Vincennes in a Storm. Sketched by C. Wilkes, U. S. N. Engraved by Jordan 

and Halpin, 
Sketched by C. Wilkes, U. S. N. Engraved by W. H. 

Sketched by G. M. Totten, U. S. N. Engraved by N. 

Sketched by C. Wilkes, U. S. N. 

Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by A. W. Graham, 401 
Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by W. E. Tucker, 409 

Aurora Australis. 

Porpoise in a Gale. 

Aurora Australis. 

New Zealand Pa. 
Pom are's House. 

Engraved by W. H. 








Paopai. Drawn by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 11 
Common Tahitian Canoe. Sketched by J. Drayton. Engraved by R. H. 

Pease, 22 

Native House, Tahiti. Sketched by J. Drayton. f Engraved by R. H. Pease, 23 
Tahitian Girl with the Hau. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by 

R. H. Pease, 24 

Male Costume. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. H. Pease, 25 

Music. Sketched by J. Drayton, 26 

Trading Canoe. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. H. Pease, 38 

Beating Tapa. Sketched by A. T. Agate.f Engraved by J. J. Butler, 63 

Music. Sketched by J. Drayton, 82 

Navigator Clubs, &c. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. H. Brightly, 88 

Fans, Baskets, &c. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. H. Pease, 120 



Ohwa Tree. 



Devil Man. 

Samoan Girl. 


Samoan Canoe. 


Samoan House. 

Samoan Pet Pigeon. 

Sketched by T. R. Peale. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 126 

Sketched by J. Drayton, 141 

Sketched by J. Drayton, 142 

Sketched by A. T. Agate4 Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 147 

Sketched by A. T. Agate4 Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 148 

Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. H. Pease, 149 

Sketched by J. Drayton. Engraved by R. H. Pease, 151 

Sketched by J. Drayton, 153 

Sketched by J. Drayton.")" Engraved by J. H. Brightly, 154 

Sketched by A. T. Agate.t Engraved by J. J. Butler, 162 

Native Hut, N. S. W. Sketched by J. Drayton.! Engraved by J. H. Brightly, 195 
Native of Australia. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. H. Pease, 196 
Music. Sketched by J. Drayton, 199 

Music. Sketched by J. Drayton, 200 

Native throwing the Boomereng. Sketched by J. Drayton."f" Engraved by 

R. S. Gilbert, 201 

Flight of the Boomereng. Sketched by J. Drayton. Engraved by R. S. 

Gilbert, 208 

Native Weapons and Shield. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. H. 

Pease, 251 

Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 268 
Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 269 
Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. H. Pease, 294 
Sketched by F. D. Stuart. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 304 
Sketched by C. Wilkes, IT. S. N. Engraved by J. J. 

Butler, 311 

Sketched by F. D. Stuart4 Engraved by R. S. Gilbert, 322 
Sketched by G. M. Totten, U. S. N.f Engraved by 

R. H. Pease, 324 

Sketched by J. A. Underwood, U. S. N. Engraved by 

R. S. Gilbert, 329 

Sketched by C. Wilkes, U. S. N. Engraved by B. F. 

Sketched by C. Wilkes, U. S. N. 
Iceberg. Sketched by C. Wilkes, U. S. N. 

Ice-Island. Sketched by G. M. Totten, U. S. 

B. F. Childs, 357 


New Holland Boy. 
Daisy Bank. 
Macquarie Island. 
Land and Field Ice. 

Peacock Bay. 


Tabular Iceberg. 

Inclined Iceberg. 

Engraved by B. F. 
Engraved by B. F. 
N. Engraved by 





Auckland Isles. Sketched by G. M. Totten, U. S. N. Engraved by 

R. O'Brien, 372 

Iceberg. Sketched by C. Wilkes, U. S. N. Engraved by B. F. 

Childs, 387 

New Zealand Carving. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by R. H. 

Pease, 408 

Woman and Child, N. Z. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. J. 

Butler, 411 

New Zealand Girl. Sketched by A. T. Agate. Engraved by J. J. Butler, 418 
New Zealand Ihu and Weapons. Sketched by A. T. Agate.f Engraved by 

R. H. Pease, 438 


Tahiti. Engraved by Sherman and Smith, 41 

Samoan Group. Engraved by Sherman and Smith, 67 

Australia and New South Wales. Engraved by E. Tappan, 211 

Those marked with a f, were drawn on the wood by J. H. Manning; those marked 
with a J, by W. G. Armstrong. Those not marked, by the Artists of the Expedition. 







183 9. 

The beauty of the distant view of Tahiti has been celebrated by 
all navigators, but I must confess that it disappointed me. The 
entire outline of the island was visible for too short a time and at too 
great a distance to permit its boasted features to be distinctly seen. 
Upon a second and nearer view, its jagged peaks and rugged, inac- 
cessible mountains were visible, but we looked in vain for the verdant 
groves which are said by all writers to clothe it. These indeed 
exist, but are confined to a narrow belt of low land, lying between 
the mountains and the shore, and being unseen at a distance, the 
general aspect of the island is that of a land recently thrown up by 
volcanic action. 

When, however, Tahiti is approached so near as to make separate 
objects visible, the contrast between it and the barren coast of Peru 
becomes striking. Even upon the steep surface of its cliffs, vege- 
tation abounds; the belt of low land is covered with the tropical 
trees peculiar to Polynesia; while the high peaks and wall-faced 
mountains in the rear are covered with vines and creeping plants. 
This verdure is seen to rise from a quiet girdle of water, which is 


again surrounded by a line of breakers dashing in snow-white foam 
on the encircling reefs of coral. Such objects are sufficient to form 
a beautiful landscape, and my disappointment probably arose in part 
from finding every thing more diminutive than I had been led to 
imagine from the highly-wrought descriptions I had been perusing 
only a few days before. 

We were surrounded, even before we anchored, by canoes of all 
shapes and sizes, whose crews made a prodigious clamour. I at once 
interdicted any one who was not a chief from coming on board ; but 
upon this being announced, every one claimed to be a chief of some 
description or other. Only the great chiefs, therefore, were admitted. 
These came off in whale-boats, which are now superseding the canoe, 
and brought with them trifling presents of fruit. It was soon found 
that their errand was not one of mere ceremony, but was intended to 
solicit the washing of our dirty linen, a business which is among the 
prerogatives of the queen and chiefs. I was informed that the queen, 
being enceinte, was residing on the opposite side of the island, which 
would prevent her from paying us a visit. I was, therefore, at liberty 
to choose a less distinguished laundress, and spared the pain of 
resisting her royal solicitations for soap, an article much needed and 
in great request at Tahiti. 

I was glad when the night closed in, to be rid of our numerous 
visiters. The pilot, who goes by the name of " English Jim," was 
equally so, for he chose to be considered as the only privdeged 
person, and, besides, was looking somewhat to his own profit in the 
line of clothes-washing, a business which the presence of the chiefs 
threatened to interfere with. Jim is quite a respectable-looking man, 
dresses in the European fashion, and speaks English, which he has 
acquired on board of whale-ships, tolerably well. Although a good 
pilot, so far as a knowledge of the shoals goes, he does not understand 
what to do with a vessel, in case of difficulty. He told me that he 
had been looking out for vessels for some days, for it had thundered. 

Although the shape and extent of Tahiti are well known, I venture 
to give a map of it, which has been made as correct as our opportu- 
nities would permit. The two peninsulas, if the_y may be so termed, 
of which it is made up, are of very different characters. The smaller 
one, called Tairaboo, and usually spoken of as " the small island," is 
said to be the most fertile : it possesses some harbours, but they are 
little better known than they were half a century ago. Both penin- 
sulas possess twenty-four harbours, including the good and bad. Tahiti 


proper contains the best, and therefore engrosses all the commerce. It 
has in consequence been for many years the seat of government. 

The whole island is of volcanic formation, but there is no longer 
any active igneous action, nor is there any well-defined crater to be 
seen. Coral reefs, with occasional openings, are attached to the 
shores, and the larger island (Tahiti) has also a sea reef. Between 
the two reefs is an almost continuous channel for boat navigation, 
and on the northern side they enclose many safe and commodious 
harbours for shipping. On this side also vessels may pass from 
harbour to harbour, within the outer reef. This reef varies in 
breadth from a few yards to fifty, or even an hundred. The shore 
that adjoins the coral reef is formed of black volcanic sand, occa- 
sionally mixed with comminuted shells, which give it a grayish hue. 
Basaltic ridges reach the sea at intervals, and form projecting points 
of moderate elevation. 

We began without delay to overhaul the vessels, and the few sick 
persons we had on board were sent on shore to a shed hired for the 
purpose on Point Venus. 

An observatory was established at the same place, and furnished 
with both astronomic and magnetic instruments; and as soon as the 
repairs of the vessels had made such progress as to permit it, parties 
were formed for the survey of the four principal harbours and the 
channels between them. These harbours, Matavai, Poapoa, Toanoa, 
and Papieti, are so important to the many whale-ships which visit 
this island, that I felt it an imperative duty to obtain accurate charts 
of them all. At the same time, a large party of officers and natu- 
ralists was ordered to cross the island, to reach, if possible, Orohena, 
one of the highest peaks, and to visit Lake Waiherea. 

I had been in hopes of obtaining a full series of moon culminating 
stars on Point Venus ; but I was disappointed, for it rained almost 
every night. I was, therefore, compelled to rely for the longitude on 
the chronometers alone, and restricted even in that method to obser- 
vations of the sun. I was, however, well pleased to find that my 
results differed from the best preceding authorities no more than 1' 
33" of space. These authorities give 149° 29' 43" W., for the longi- 
tude of Point Venus. 

The mountains were obscured by clouds during the whole time of 
my stay, and no angles could be taken for the measurement of their 
heights, nor could the party I detached for the purpose reach their 
summits ; but the Peacock remained for some days after my depar- 


ture, and Captain Hudson, with his officers, succeeded in measuring 
the height of Aorai, the peak which is next in height to Orohena. 
This he found to be 6979 feet ; and as Orohena appeared to be about 
1500 feet higher, the height of the latter peak may be set down as 
about 8500 feet above the level of the sea. From these two peaks, 
ridges diverge to all parts of the coast, throwing off spurs as they 
descend. These ridges are precipitous, and for the most part narrow. 
In many instances their summit is a mere edge, making walking 
upon them not only dangerous, but often impossible. 

Soon after my arrival, I was visited by S. R. Blackler, Esq., our 
consul, who resides at Papieti, distant eight miles from Matavai. 
The resident missionaries, with Mr. Pritchard, Her Britannic Ma- 
jesty's acting consul, and Mr. Mouremhout, the French consul, also 
favoured me with a visit, as did several other persons, who all ex- 
pressed their desire of being serviceable to us. 

The governor of the district of Matavai, Taua, was the first ac- 
quaintance of any distinction that we made. He had already visited 
the Vincennes on her anchoring. He is a fine-looking man, of huge 
proportions, and has a large establishment near Point Venus, where 
he monopolized nearly all the washing, which was performed by his 
numerous dependents. By this business he derives some remune- 
ration for the cost of feeding and clothing them, putting the gains of 
their labour into his own pocket. Such, at least, is his own account 
of the transaction. 

Taua's usual dress was a striped cotton shirt, nankeen pantaloons 
that had once been yellow, and a round jacket of blue cloth. Both 
shirt and pantaloons were too tight, and he had neither suspenders 
nor stockings, although he wore shoes. In this guise he had an 
awkward look, which he probably wo\ild not have exhibited in a 
native costume. 

He was profuse in offers of hospitality at his own house, and 
many of the officers were induced to accept his invitations. His 
entertainments appear to have been of the same general character 
with that to which I was treated, and which will, therefore, serve as 
a specimen of the mode in which such things are done by the "good 
society" of Tahiti. 

We reached his dwelling in time to see the preparations for the 
feast. These were entrusted to his man of all work, Stephen, or 
as he called him, " Stiffin." This useful personage exhibited his 
dexterity, not only in cooking, but in killing the poultry. The bird 


selected was a cock, for the Tahitians well understand the difference 
in value between it and the hens ; and Stephen exhibited much 
adroitness in the slaying, plucking, and dressing. While this was 
going on, the stones for the Tahitian oven, so often described by 
voyagers, were heating, and when they had acquired the proper 
temperature, the ashes were carefully swept off — bread-fruit, taro, 
and plantains, wrapped in leaves, were then laid on the stones, with 
the fowl in the centre, and the whole covered up. In about an hour 
the oven was carefully opened, the contents exposed, and found to be 
thoroughly cooked. The dinner was then served in an earthen dish, 
with a knife and fork, when, although the fowl was somewhat tough, 
it was greatly relished. The dinner hour was one o'clock. 

Taua, according to the universal opinion of the squadron, did not 
improve upon a closer acquaintance. His intrusive and greedy dis- 
position, not to mention his fondness for the bottle, rendered him 
daily a less welcome visiter than at first. I must, however, do him 
the justice to say, that if he were wanting in other traits of character 
that ought to distinguish a chief, he did the honours of his house 
admirably, and that he must be seen in the capacity of a host, if a 
favourable opinion is to be formed of his character. 

On the invitation of the Rev. Mr. Wilson, I visited him at the 
mission-house, and was kindly received. This gentleman is seventy- 
two years of age, and is the oldest missionary on the island. In spite 
of his advanced age, he still performs all the duties of his cure. The 
church and the parsonage are both frame houses. The former, 
which is neatly built, is capable of containing a large congregation. 
The Sabbath occurred on Saturday, by our reckoning, and all labour 
was suspended. I thought the attendance on worship small, com- 
pared with what I had been led to anticipate. There were less than 
two hundred persons present, and they did not appear to be as 
attentive as they had been represented. The women were more 
numerous than the other sex, and were dressed in a most unbecoming 
manner. They wore high flaring chip bonnets of their own manu- 
facture, loose gay-coloured silk frocks, with showy kerchiefs tied 
around their necks. Nothing can appear more outre, than they do in 
these habiliments, and I was at a loss to conceive how they could, in 
particular, have been induced to adopt a covering for the head, which 
affords no protection from the sun, and is in consequence so ill- 
adapted to the climate. 


On Sunday, 15th September, as many of the officers and crews 
as could be spared from the vessels attended divine service in the 
Mission church. Our chaplain performed the service, with the aid 
of the Rev. Mr. Pratt. This exercise attracted great crowds of the 
natives, of whom an unusual number had collected at Matavai. 
They flock, on the arrival of vessels, and particularly of ships of war, 
to the port in which they lie, partly from curiosity, and a desire of 
amusement, but more from a hope of gain. A Tahitian changes his 
residence without difficulty or inconvenience ; food is every where to 
be had in abundance, and lodgings never enter into his calculation. 
While the squadron was at Matavai Bay, the number of those who 
appeared to inhabit its shores would have given a very erroneous 
estimate of the usual population. They were assembled from every 
part of the island, and the right of occupying each spare nook in the 
houses of the permanent settlers, seems to be universally admitted. 
When this resource fails, they are to be seen beneath trees, or upon 
the beach, within a few feet of the water's edge, sleeping as soundly, 
although without any covering, as if they were beneath their own 

This people exhibits great curiosity, but does not manifest it by 
intrusive inquisitiveness. In our whole intercourse with them, we 
did not hear of a single act of theft, although there were innumerable 
opportunities for its commission, without the possibility of immediate 
detection. They seemed always in a good humour, gay, happy, and 
cheerful; nor did I witness a single quarrel among all the crowds 
that were assembled at Point Venus, during our stay. They are, 
however, inveterate beggars. 

At the invitation of Mr. Pritchard, I visited the school under his 
direction at Papieti. This gentleman was, a few years since, a 
missionary, but now holds the station of Her Britannic Majesty's 
Consul. He has not, however, abandoned all his missionary duties. 
We were also invited to visit the school at Matavai Bay, under the 
direction of the Rev. Mr. Wilson. There was so much similarity in 
the two schools, that I shall content myself with a description of the 
former, and a circumstance or two that occurred at the latter. 

The school at Papieti is held in the church, a large frame building, 
much like a New England meeting-house. It has numerous win- 
dows, a large gallery, and pews capable of containing a great number 
of people. All who were present were well dressed, and the 


assemblage, except from the colour of their skins, could have been, 
with difficulty, distinguished from a Sunday school in the United 

The exercises were opened with prayer. The children then sang 
the ABC song, and went through the a-b ab, at the word of 
command from Mr. Pritchard. To this succeeded an examination 
of the larger children, and an exhibition of some of their perform- 
ances. The number of scholars was from three hundred and fifty 
to four hundred, between eight and sixteen years of age. A large 
proportion of them read, sang, and wrote on a slate, manifesting a 
fair proficiency in each, and answered intelligently the questions that 
Avere put to them. 

To test the character of the instruction given in this school, I 
felt desirous of putting some questions on subjects foreign to the 
ordinary routine, and particidarly in relation to natural phenomena. 
For this pmrpose I called the attention of the scholars to the eclipse 
of the sun which had happened a few days before. This was 
received with a variety of expression of countenance by different 
scholars, but among them I could only remark stupid wonder, 
indifference, or listlessness, which showed too clearly that no attempt 
had been made to awaken their attention to such subjects. 

When the examination was concluded, I made a trifling present to 
the native teachers in the name of the American government, and 
desired Mr. Pritchard to express the satisfaction it had given myself 
and officers to witness the exhibition of a progress, which in the 
elementary branches of education had exceeded our expectations; 
and to state that I was assured it would be gratifying to our country 
to hear of their improvement. I concluded by expressing my hope 
that they would persevere in their attention to the missionaries, who 
were so zealously endeavouring to instruct them in knowledge and 

This short address was immediately answered by Paofai, a chief 
who holds the office of chief judge, and who is generally considered 
as the ablest and most clear-headed man in the nation. His reply 
was delivered in an earnest and animated manner, and contained 
many expressions of gratitude for the attention and kindness shown 
them by the people of the United States. 

The exhibition of the schools did not surprise me so much as the 
fact that few natives are to be met with who cannot both read and 
write. This was not confined to the younger part of the population, 



but was true even of those advanced in years. I also learned that 
they had schools among themselves, and that parents were well 
aware of the advantages attendant on sending their children to them. 
In these schools great pains are taken to inculcate cleanly and indus- 
trious habits, with sound moral and religious principles. 

The hours of attendance are confined to the forenoon, and during 
these the schools are crowded. The parents are unwilling that 
their children should be confined for a longer time. Saturday is a 
holiday, and on it the children may be seen engaged in innocent 
plays and amusements, among which is swinging with a single rope 
from a tall cocoa tree. This pastime is picturesque and in good 
keeping with the landscape. 


Our consul, Mr. Blackler, had made complaints to me, as soon as I 
arrived, of the conduct of the queen and government, and asked my 
interference. The charges consisted in the following- items : 

1. The seizure of an American whale-boat and ill treatment of the 

2. That fines had been unjustly imposed on American seamen. 



3. The refusal to apprehend deserters from American ships, or to 
provide a place for their safe keeping. 

4. The evasion of a promise to provide a place for the transaction 
of the consular business. 

In consequence of these complaints, I had immediately requested 
that a council of the chiefs might be held, and the 17th September 
was appointed for the purpose. On this day I ordered all the officers 
that could be spared from the vessels to attend. Captain Hudson 
and myself set out at an early hour, accompanied by several boats. 
We passed down through the reefs, and reached Papieti at ten 
o'clock, where we were joined by our consul, and in his company 
proceeded to the building which has been mentioned as the scene 
of the exhibition of the schools. Here we were received by Mr. 
Pritchard, who politely showed us to the seats we were to occupy. 
He then called the names of the chiefs, and each answering in his 
turn, took his seat on the side of the building opposite to us. 

The meeting being ready for business, I read from a paper a list 
of the grievances complained of. This was translated sentence by 
sentence by a Mr. Darling. When I had finished, Paofai again 
appeared to make a reply. He began by apologizing for the absence 
of the queen, caused by her approaching confinement, and then 
requested a copy of the paper which had been read, in order that it 
might be considered and answered. He stated that it included too 
many points to be decided upon and answered at once, but promised 


that the matter should be examined, and the business concluded as 
speedily as possible. 

This request was so reasonable that I at once assented to it. I 
thought the pi'oposed mode far better, and it was more agreeable to 
me than a public discussion would have been, in which confusion 
could hardly be avoided. I therefore broke up the meeting, after 
stating that I should look for a satisfactory reply on my coming in 
the Vincennes to Papieti. 

Many of the chiefs seemed disposed to act correctly and do justice, 
at least they repeatedly expressed their good intentions It was also 
evident to me, that their minds were greatly relieved by the mode- 
ration of the demands, for they had feared that these were to be of 
some extraordinary kind, and might perhaps include a claim for 
heavy damages. Indeed, since the large contribution levied on this 
island by the French, the government has entertained apprehensions, 
and dreads the arrival of men-of-war. These fears are taken advan- 
tage of by many ill-disposed residents, who omit no opportunity to 
practise upon their alarms, and to threaten them with foreign intei'- 

Much complaint has been made of the influence which the mission- 
aries, and Mr. Pritchard in particular, exercise over the government 
of Tahiti. The}' have, unquestionably, great influence; but I am 
satisfied that they are justly entitled to it. Indeed I cannot but 
consider it as part of their duty, nay, the great object of their mission, 
to acquire and exercise a salutary control over their converts, both of 
high and low degree. My own observations satisfied me that this 
control is exerted solely for the purpose of fulfilling the laudable 
object for which they were sent. It is possible that their views of the 
proper method of instructing an ignorant people are not at all times, 
or in every respect, the most enlightened ; but no one can with 
propriety question their pious zeal, or the honesty of their intentions. 
We may perhaps lament their intolerance towards other sects, but no 
one can visit the island without perceiving on every side the most 
positive evidence of the great benefits they have already bestowed, 
and are daily conferring upon the inhabitants. 

All this good has been done in the face of many and great diffi- 
culties. The most serious of these is the evil influence of a large 
portion of the other foreign residents. Although among these are 
some who are truly respectable, the majority is made up of runaways 


from the English convict settlements, and deserters from vessels. 
These men, the outcasts and refuse of every maritime nation, are 
addicted to every description of vice, and would be a pest even in a 
civilized community. It may easily be conceived what an injurious 
influence such a band of vagabonds, without trade or occupation by 
which they can support themselves, guilty of every species of pro- 
fanity and crime, must exert upon the morals of the natives, and 
what a barrier they must oppose to their improvement in morals and 

Tahiti, when first visited, was proverbial for its licentiousness, and 
it would be asking too much, to require that after so short an enjoy- 
ment of the means of instruction, and in the face of such obstacles, its 
inhabitants should as a body have become patterns of good morals. 
Licentiousness does still exist among them, but the foreign residents 
and visiters are in a great degree the cause of its continuance, and 
an unbridled intercourse with them serves to perpetuate it. Severe 
laws have been enacted, but they cannot be put in force in cases 
where one of the parties is a foreigner. I see no reason, however, 
why this island should be pointed out as conspicuous for licentious- 
ness. When compared with many parts of the world that arrogate a 
superior civilization, it appears almost in an advantageous light. Vice, 
at any rate, does not stalk abroad in the open day, as it did in some 
places we had lately visited upon the American continent. It would 
be unfair to judge of these natives, before they had received instruc- 
tion, by our rules of propriety; and now many of those who bear 
testimony to the laxity of their morals, visit their shores for the 
very purpose of enticing them into guilt, and of rioting without fear 
or hindrance in debauchery. Coming with such intentions, and 
finding themselves checked by the influence of the missionaries, they 
rail against them because they have put an end to the obscene dances 
and games of the natives, and procured the enactment of laws for- 
bidding illicit intercourse. 

The missionaries are far from overrating their own success in 
effecting an improvement in morals, and inculcating the obligations 
of religion. So far from this, I found that they generally complained 
that sincere piety was rarely to be found among the natives. How- 
ever this may be, the external signs of moral and religious improve- 
ment are conspicuous. Many of the natives are scrupulous in their 
attention to Christian duties, and members in communion of the 
church. All are strict observers of the Sabbath; indeed, nowhere 


is its institution more religiously attended to than in those Polynesian 
islands which are under missionary influence. On that day no canoe 
is launched upon the waters, and no person is seen abroad except 
while on his way to or return from church. When thus seen, they 
are neatly and decently clothed, although in very bad taste. At 
church they form a respectable-looking congregation, and listen with 
attention to the preacher. 

The success of the missionaries in introducing this strict ob- 
servance of a Sabbath is ascribed by themselves in a great degree 
to its analogy to the taboo-days of heathen times, and the continu- 
ance of its sanctity is now insured by the penalties which await an 
infraction of it. The punishment for Sabbath-breaking consists in 
the offender being compelled to make a certain number of fathoms of 
road, and upon a repetition of the offence, the number of fathoms is 
much increased. 

I cannot pass without notice the untiring efforts of many of the 
foreign residents to disparage the missionaries and vilify the natives. 
They endeavour on all occasions to prepossess the minds of visiters 
against both. These efforts, however, generally fail of success; for 
no reflecting mind can fail to perceive how devoid they are of any 
foundation, nor avoid noticing the baneful effects these residents are 
themselves producing, by inculcating principles for which many of 
them have been compelled to fly their own countries, or teaching the 
practice of crimes from whose penalty they have made their escape. 

There are about a hundred characters of this description on the 
island, and to give a better idea of them I shall divide them into 
three classes. 

The first class comprises merchants, if they can be so called. The 
sole object of these is to make money. I regret to say that, as far as 
my observation went, this purpose is not accomplished without injury 
to the Avelfare of the natives. This class endeavours to place both 
the persons who compose it and the premises they occupy beyond 
the reach of the local law. 

The second class is composed of the children born upon the island 
of missionary parents. Of these many seem to have forgotten utterly 
the principles instilled into them in their infancy. 

The third class is much the most numerous, and those I include in 
it appear destitute of all moral or religious principle. They stand 
out openly and boldly in defiance of all law and decency. Among 
them continual complaints are to be heard against the missionaries, 


the government, and the people. On being asked to state the ground 
of their complaints, most of them fail in presenting any other charges 
than that the missionaries are endeavouring to make the natives too 
good ; that they deprive them of their innocent luxury of intoxicating 
liqtiors ; that they interdict promiscuous intercourse, and have ruined 
the trade of the island by preventing the women from going on board 
ship ; that they have interfered with their amusements by abolishing 
lascivious dances and songs, and requiring from them instead, 
prayers and hymns; that they have introduced too strict an ob- 
servance of a Sabbath, translated the Scriptures, and taught the 
natives to read them. Others argue seriously, that this mild and 
amiable people had no need of instruction in divine revelation ; that 
they would have been much happier had they been left to follow their 
own inclinations; and that they have been rendered miserable by 
being taught their responsibility as accountable beings. 

The missionaries, however, receive countenance and support from 
a more respectable portion of the foreign residents. These, although 
they do not approve of the whole of the course the missionaries have 
pursued, are united in upholding the moral and religious principles 
which they endeavour to inculcate. 

Although much has been done for the improvement of the natives, 
still it appears evident that much more might have been done if the 
missionaries had not confined themselves so exclusively to teaching 
from the Scriptures. The natives, by all accounts are extremely 
fond of story-telling, and marvellous tales of their ancestors and 
ancient gods, are even now a source of amusement. The mis- 
sionaries, as I am told, possess much information in relation to the 
history and mythology of the island, embodied in the superstitious 
tales still occasionally current among its inhabitants. It is to be 
hoped that they will preserve a record of these, before they are 
obliterated by their exertions to destroy the ancient superstition. 
But they would have succeeded sooner in eradicating the practice of 
reciting these legends, had they provided a substitute in works of 
fiction, inculcating moral and religious lessons, or teaching useful 
knowledge. So also, while it was indispensable to put down those 
amusements which were the means or incentives to debauchery, this 
measure ought to have been accompanied by the introduction of 
innocent modes of recreation. For want of the first resource, much 
time is now spent in unmeaning gossip, and the necessity for the 
other is often shown in a listless idleness. 


No attempt has been made by the missionaries to introduce the 
mechanic arts, or improvements in agriculture, yet it cannot be 
doubted, that to have taught them even the simplest of these, would 
have materially aided the progress of civilization, and reacted 
favourably upon that of religion. The failure of a cotton manu- 
factory, with expensive machinery, which was erected on the island 
of Eimeo, affords no argument against the probable success of less 
complex arts. The natives were not prepared to pass at once from 
habits of desultory exertion, to the regular and stated occupation of 
the mill. But the spinning-wheel, the hand-loom, and the plough, 
would not have required such a decided change in the number of 
hours of labour, and would have served as a preparation for more 
continuous industry. The two former implements have at length 
been introduced by other hands, and have already been adopted with 
eagerness by some of the natives. 

The change of dress which has been introduced by the missionaries 
and other foreigners, has, on the contrary, had an injurious effect on 
the industry of this people. While they wore their native, tapa, 
the fabric, though of little value, gave employment to numbers of 
women, and this change of dress, intended as an advance in civiliza- 
tion, has had the effect of superseding employments which formerly 
engaged their attention, and occupied their time. The idleness 
hence arising, and the artificial wants thus created, have no little 
influence in perpetuating licentiousness among the females, to whom 
foreign finery is a great temptation. The European dress, at least as 
worn by them, is neither as becoming, nor as well adapted to the 
climate as that which it has almost superseded. Many of the mis- 
sionaries now see these things in their true light, and informed me 
that they were endeavouring to pursue a more enlightened course. 

Upon the whole, although the missionaries may be chargeable 
with misjudging zeal, and have exhibited a want of practical know- 
ledge of human nature in their efforts, and in the solution of the 
difficult problem of bringing barbarians to civilization, they ought to 
receive due credit for what they have actually accomplished. I am 
decidedly of opinion, that in spite of all the drawbacks I have men- 
tioned, as much would not have been done by any other class of 
persons. It has demanded a sense of religious duty, to enable them 
to persevere in a constant devotion to the cause in which they have 
embarked, to enable them to undergo the privations and trials to 
which they have been subjected, while continually at the mercy of 


uncivilized men. No desire of pecuniary emolument has been 
evinced by them, nor are they sustained by any expectation of 
temporal reward, and I can testify, from personal observation, that 
their position, in a worldly sense, is not to be envied. 

To jxidge of the amount of good they have accomplished, it is 
necessary to turn back to the records of early voyages, and compare 
the present with the former condition of these islanders. Now they 
are seen enjoying peace, possessing a written instead of a mere oral 
language, living under wholesome laws, and receiving the advantages 
of school education and church discipline. In former times, we read 
of perpetual intestine broils, of the worship of idols propitiated by 
human sacrifice, of the depraved association of the Ariore, and its 
accompanying crime of infanticide. In making this comparison, we 
cannot but acknowledge that the persons who have effected these 
changes, are both Christians and philanthropists, and that they have 
been reasonably successful in implanting the principles of civili- 

As a proof of the value of their labours, my experience warrants 
me in saying that the natives of Tahiti are honest, well-behaved, and 
obliging; that no drunkenness or rioting is to be seen, except when 
provoked by their white visiters and inmates, and that they are 
obedient to the laws and to their rulers. That they should be 
comparatively indolent is natural, in a climate where the fruits of the 
earth almost spontaneously supply the wants of nature, and where 
a mere animal existence may be maintained without labour. No 
people is, in truth, so independent of the aid even of their fellows as 
the Tahitians. A native may in the morning be wholly destitute 
even of implements wherewith to work, and before nightfall he may 
be found clothed, lodged, and have all the necessaries of life around 
him in abundance. These he derives from the cocoa-nut, the poorou 
(Hibiscus tiliaceus), banana, bread-fruit, and bamboo. That he does 
not find it necessary to call upon others for assistance, does not make 
him forget the duties of hospitality, btrt it does produce a thoughtless- 
ness about his own wants, and takes away that incitement to labour, 
which is so powerful an aid in the promotion of civilization. Still, I 
am satisfied that the Tahitians do not avoid labour, when they can 
work with profit to themselves. Those who were employed on board 
the squadron, where their pay was liberal and regular, performed 
their tasks faithfully and well ; and they bear the same character for 
fidelity in the whale-ships, on board of which they are much 


employed. Some of them are now engaged in the culture of the 
sugar-cane ; and a single native plantation was mentioned to me, of 
which the preceding year's crop had amounted to five tons. Coffee 
has also been planted, and succeeds remarkably well. Much more, 
too, would have been done in these productions had their industry 
been encouraged by the missionaries, as a body ; but, while some of 
them have done their utmost to stimulate the natives to exertion, 
others have altogether discountenanced any attempts to introduce 
new articles of culture. 

One of the most important consequences of the introduction of 
civilization has been the establishment of a settled constitution. 
This was framed by the missionaries in 1823, upon the model of that 
of England, and was revised in 1826. The royal authority includes 
the power of the veto, the nomination of the supreme jxidges, and of 
all officers connected with the person of the sovereign. The crown 
is hereditary, descending either to males or females. The legislative 
power is lodged in an assembly, composed of two members from each 
district, chosen triennially by the people. This assembly is convened 
annually for the purpose of remodelling existing laws, or enacting 
new ones. It has also semi-annual meetings, and may be convened 
more frequently, if necessary, for the discussion of questions of 
importance. Ail enactments of the legislature, before they become 
laws, are laid before the queen for her approbation and signature. 
When this is affixed, they are carried into effect by the judges and 
the officers of the crown. Should she refuse her signature, they are 
revised and remodified, or laid aside altogether. 

The island is divided into seven districts, each of which has an 
inferior court for the trial of ordinary cases. This consists of two 
judges, who are not unfrequently also members of the legislature. 
The decision of these courts must be founded upon evidence, and 
appeal lies to the supreme tribunal. 

This supreme court is composed of seven judges, two of whom 
are residents of the island of Eimeo. The judges are also executive 
officers, and nearly all are chiefs. This double capacity gives them 
great influence, and their power is sufficient to supply, in part, the 
queen's want of energy, but at the same time serves as a check 
against any encroachment upon the prerogatives of the sovereign. 

The powers of this court even extend to an impeachment of the 
royal ruler. 

The mode of trial, both of civil and criminal cases, is hj a jury, 


and free argument is allowed. The testimony is not given upon 
oath, but the penalty for giving false evidence is severe. The jury is 
composed of six persons ; and every one has the right of being tried 
by his peers. 

The reigning queen is named Aimata, but is more usually known 
as Pomare IV. She is the sister of the late king, and grand-daughter 
to that Pomare (I.) who acquired the sovereignty of Tahiti, soon after 
its discovery. She is now (1839) about twenty-seven years of age, 
and has been twice married : the first time to Pomare, a young chief 
of Tahaa, from whom she was divorced ; the second, to a young chief 
of the island of Huaheine, by whom she has one son, the heir of the 
throne. The general appellation he goes by is Pomare taue, equiva- 
lent to king-consort. 

Next in rank to the queen, is her aunt, Ariapaca, the elder sister 
of her mother, and at one time queen-regent. She still possesses 
great influence. 

In case of failure of the queen's posterity, the next heirs to the 
throne are the princesses Ninito and Taii, who are the queen's 
cousins, and nieces to Pomare II. 

Uata, the godfather of the queen, although not a chief by birth, 
has from this connexion, obtained great influence in the queen's 
councils, and may be termed prime minister. 

The seven judges of the supreme tribunal are nominated by the 
queen, but the nomination must be confirmed by the legislature. 
Those who at present hold the office are all large landholders, and 
men of the highest character and intelligence to be found in the 
population. They are in fact the rulers of the kingdom. Five of 
them, viz. : Paofai, Mare, Utami, Taati, and Tanoni, reside on the 
island of Tahiti ; the other two, Ruetone and Mahine, at Eimeo. 

In spite of the small extent of the kingdom, it is not without sub- 
jects to distract its councils. There are two distinct parties : the one 
led by the queen and the missionaries; the other, by some of the 
chiefs. The leaders of the latter are Paofai, Hitoti, and Taua, who 
are descended from the ancient kings dethroned by Pomare I. These 
chiefs have large domains, and many of the raatiras (landholders) 
take part with them. They are, besides, distinguished by qualities 
which give them consideration among the islanders. Paofai, who 
has more than once been spoken of, holds the office of chief judge, 
and is considered as the best statesman on the island. Hitoti is 


distinguished for a dignity, uprightness, and good sense, which com- 
mand universal respect. Taua possesses a high reputation as a hrave 
and skilful warrior. 

Of these three leaders, Hitoti alone is wholly free from reproach. 
Paofai is accused of covetousness, and a propensity to intrigue ; and 
Taua, of a fondness for intoxicating drinks. 

The queen, however, contrives to rule in all matters that rightfully 
belong to her; and by the aid of the missionaries, maintains her 
ground against this strong opposition, although its leaders have gene- 
rally the power to determine the course of policy to be pursued, and 
entire authority over the execution of the laws. They are much 
opposed to foreigners, and have made several attempts to have them 
banished from the island. They are supposed to entertain the design 
of setting aside the queen on account of her irregular behaviour and 
vices; but this plan is not likely to succeed, because of the personal 
popularity she enjoys, and the number of adherents she possesses 
among the people. In conformity with such a design, these chiefs 
are said to be continually watching for opportunities to increase their 
own power and diminish the royal authority. Among the occasions of 
which they endeavoured to avail themselves, was the celebrated affair 
of the Roman Catholic priests, the circumstances of which, as nearly 
as I could learn from the statements of both parties, are as follows : 

Two priests of this denomination, who had been stationed at the 
Manga Reva, or Gambier Group, landed on the southern side of the 
island, and travelled towards Papieti, preaching the doctrines of their 
church. They, however, found none willing to listen, and it is said, 
that no native would receive them into his house. On their arrival 
at Papieti, however, Paofai, Hitoti, and some other chiefs, gave them 
countenance, and they were hospitably received by Mr. Morenhout, 
the acting American consul, who, however, did not lodge them under 
his own roof, but in an adjacent building. The people, however, 
excited by the preaching of the English missionaries, broke into the 
building, and compelled the priests to embark on board a small vessel, 
which carried them to Uea, or Wallis Island, about two thousand 
miles to the west of Tahiti. 

In considering this question calmly, and stripping it of the ex- 
aggerations with which both parties have loaded it, it is difficult to 
say which was most in the wrong. The Protestant religion was 
established by law upon the island, to the exclusion of all others, and 


this the priests well knew ; nor can any but zealots who think that 
those whom they style heretics are worse than infidels excuse their 
intrusion upon missionary ground already fully and successfully 
occupied. On the other hand, their precipitate expulsion, under 
circumstances of great hardship, exhibited an unchristian spirit, for 
which the resident missionaries may justly be held responsible, as 
they unquestionably had it in their power to prevent any positive ill 
treatment on the part of the natives. 

The consequences of this expulsion of the priests remain to be 
related. In due course of time the French frigate Venus, com- 
manded by M. Du Petit Thouars, arrived at the island, and anchored 
in the harbour of Papieti. The commander immediately demanded 
satisfaction for the outrage committed on his countrymen the priests, 
and threatened that unless two thousand dollars were paid him 
within twenty-four hours, he would fire upon and burn the town of 
Papieti. The queen had no money, and was inclined, as I was told, 
to let the French do their worst ; but as in this case the loss would 
have fallen wholly on the foreign residents, the required sum was 
collected from them by Mr. Pritchard, and paid to M. Du Petit 
Thouars. A treaty was also forced upon the government, allowing 
all Frenchmen to visit the island freely, to erect churches, and to 
practise their religion. Thus the local laws were abrogated under 
the threats of an irresistible force, and the national independence 
virtually surrendered. 

This was a high-handed measure on the part of the French 
commander, and one that hardly admits of justification, particularly 
the demand for money ; for he had himself been received with great 
hospitalit}r, and not long before another of his sovereign's frigates, the 
Artemise, I think, had been saved from wreck by the unrecompensed 
exertions of the Tahitians. The amount demanded also was at least 
four times as great as the pecuniary damage incurred by the priests 
would be reasonably valued at. The French commander, therefore, 
appears, in thus bullying a defenceless people into the payment of 
an exorbitant indemnity and into a relinquishment of the right of 
admitting or excluding foreigners and strange religious creeds, by 
municipal regulation, in a light far from advantageous. 

We have seen that Paofai and his party at first countenanced the 
French priests. This they no doubt did in the hope of introducing 
an influence which might be opposed to that of the English mis- 
sionaries. Subsequently to these transactions, and after an attempt 


by two foreigners to murder Mrs. Morenhout, they have endeavoured 
to obtain the passage of a law for the expulsion of all foreigners 

The aversion to the permanent residence of foreigners is general, 
and although there is no law forbidding the sale of land to them, yet 
no offers have hitherto been found sufficient to induce the chiefs to 
dispose of any portion of their soil. They find in its possession an 
acknowledged right to rank and respectability, and it spontaneously 
yields them and their followers the means of subsistence. So pow- 
erful is this repugnance to the admission of foreigners to any of the 
privileges arising from a possession of land, that those who are 
attempting to cultivate sugar, &c, hold their leases by so uncertain 
a tenure as to prevent their making any permanent improvement. 

The canoes at Tahiti show an evident improvement on those of the 
Disappointment Islanders; the bottom is constructed of one piece. 
They use an out-rigger, and have a projection over the stern for 
landing. The paddle is also different. 


The fertile portion of the island of Tahiti lies in the valleys, which 
are of small extent, and in the plain which extends from the sea shore 
to the spurs of the mountains. These produce tropical plants in 
great abundance and luxuriance, and are probably not exceeded in 
fertility by any portion of the earth's surface. The climate of this 
region is warm but not enervating, and is well adapted for the 
enjoyment of all the pleasures of life To this climate the habits 
and pursuits of the natives are well adapted, or rather they are its 
necessary results. Their disposition leads them to the quiet enjoy- 
ment of the beautiful scenes around them. Their cottages are to 
be found in retired and lovely spots, and are usually surrounded by 
neatly fenced enclosures. In these, which are often of considerable 
extent, are to be seen growing the bread-fruit, vi-apple, and orange, 
and sometimes extensive groves of tall cocoa-nut trees. In one corner 
are the patches of taro and sweet-potatoes. 

The cottages are of an oval form, usually about fifty or sixty feet 
in length, and twenty in breadth. The walls are formed of bamboos 


set in the ground, with intervals of about an inch between them, for 
the admission of light and air. To the top of these a plate-piece of 
the hibiscus, a light and strong wood, is 'lashed with sinnet. From 
this the rafters rise on all sides, and meet in a ridge, which is about 
half the length of the building. The rafters touch each other, and 
are covered with small mats made of the pandanus leaf. These are 
closely fitted together, and lapped over each other, forming an imper- 
vious and durable roof. The floor is the natural earth; there are no 
partitions, but tapa or matting is employed as an occasional screen. 
A building of this description may be erected for about fifty dollars. 

fiji' ^'i-'i^ V frT i iir rirTTr 1 ^ — fra 


The Tahitians use neither tables nor chairs. Their bedsteads are 
formed of a framework of cane, raised a short distance from the 
ground, upon which a few mats are laid. A pillow stuffed with 
aromatic herbs is in general use among the better class. 

The natives are generally to be found in their houses, in a circle, 
chatting, reading, and singing, or smoking, unless they be, as is often 
the case, asleep. They are seldom to be seen engaged in manual 
labour, except on the sides of the streams where they are employed 
in washing, or at the residences of the chiefs. 

I hesitate to speak of the females of this island, for I differ from 
all who have gone before me in relation to their vaunted beauty. I 
did not see among them a single woman whom I could call handsome. 
They have, indeed, a soft sleepiness about the eyes, which may be 
fascinating to some, but I should rather ascribe the celebrity their 
charms have obtained among navigators, to their cheerfulness and 
gaiety. Their figures are bad, and the greater part of them are 
parrot-toed. They are exceedingly prone to prattling, or may rather 
be said to have a tattling disposition, for they cannot keep even their 
own secrets. 

This want of reserve is not confined to the women : the men are 
also incapable of keeping a secret. A crime is divulged almost as 



soon as committed, and for a small reward they will become informers 
against their nearest relatives and friends. 

I have spoken of the incongruous character of the dress of the 
females. Among the men this is not as strongly marked as it is said 
formerly to have been, and they are no longer content with cast-off 
clothing. Those who can obtain it are dressed in sailor's garb. 
Others wear around their bodies, a wrapper called pareu, which 
extends to the calf of the leg. This is now usually made of blue 
cotton cloth, and with it some wear a cotton shirt of gaudy colours. 
Others luxuriate in a pair of duck trousers, and carry the pareu upon 
their shoulders. 

The appearance of the dress of the women while at church, has 
already been spoken of. On ordinary occasions, they wear the pareu 
alone, but when dressed, put over it a loose dress, resembling a 
night-gown, buttoned at the wrists and confined in no other place. 
Relics of their ancient dress may still occasionally be seen in wreaths 
of flowers around the head, and in the hair. The hau is a sort of 
rim made of pandanus, and when it has flowers beneath it gives a 


pleasing and rural look to the women, to whom it also affords a 
convenient and easily procured protection from the sun. The 
wreaths are usually composed of the Cape Jasmine and Rosa Sinen- 
sis, the latter of which is often stuck through the lobes of their ears, 
and in their glossy black hair. 

The natives of both sexes seem passionately fond of flowers, but 
the use of these in dress has been discouraged by their teachers, who 
have taught them that such vanities are unbecoming to Christians. 



I am at a loss to understand why so innocent a pleasure should not 
have been encouraged rather than discountenanced. In conformity 
with this opinion, the absence of flowers around the missionaries' 
dwellings is universal, and cannot fail to be remarked in a climate 
where the plants most admired in their own country, as exotics, are of 
almost spontaneous growth. 

Cooking and eating occupy but a small portion of their time. The 
latter indeed is performed with more of the air of a business which 
requires despatch, than any thing else they do. Their food consists 
principally of bread-fruit, taro, banana, vi-apple (Spondias), oranges, 
cocoa-nuts, sugar-cane, fowls, and fish. They eat no salt, but employ 
instead of it a sort of sop made of sea-water, cocoa-nut milk, and the 
root of the Ti. Their mode of eating is somewhat disagreeable, for 
the bread-fruit or taro is dipped in the sop, and then sucked into the 
mouth with a smacking sound that may be heard at some distance. 
The vessel most commonly used is a cocoa-nut shell. The children 
are fed upon poe, which is made of bread-fruit and taro, pounded 
together with a little sugar. The child is laid on its back, and is 
crammed with balls of poe of the size of a walnut, at which it shows its 
delight, by flapping its arms, kicking, and chirping like a young bird. 

At Tahiti the mode of carrying burdens is the same as we found 
prevailing throughout Polynesia ; the wood-cut will best explain it. 


The men of Tahiti care little about music, but the women appear 
to be passionately fond of it, and have very correct ears. Many of 
them have rich contralto voices, and can descend to very low notes, 
while others do not differ in this respect from the females of our own 
country ; occasionally one may be found that can sound exceedingly 
clear and very high notes. Their voices accord well with each 
other, and a party of four or five will make excellent harmony. 

If they ever had any native music, it has long been forgotten, and 
no other singing is now heard, but hymns and sailors' songs ; you 
observe, however, a peculiar nasal sound, particularly in those who 
indulge in the latter class of singing. 

Social amusements are prohibited by severe penalties, although 
the people are evidently fond of them : I neither saw nor heard myself 
of any dancing or theatrical amusements during our stay. Some of 
the officers, however, persuaded a few females to exhibit a dance, 
upon the strict assurance that they should not be informed against. 
Mats were spread upon the floor, on which two of the girls stood up 
to dance, while the others sat cross-legraed around. One of the latter 
began by uttering a few words of no delicate import, in reply to 
which all the others made a sort of grunt, with the mouth shut. To 
this succeeds another set of sounds uttered with the mouth open. 

Mouth shut. Mouth open. 
u. I t r T t r 



9 & 9~ 

umh umh umh ha ha ha 

To this all keep time, by drawing up the legs, thrusting out the 
arms, and making all sorts of contortions. In the meantime the two 
dancers proceed, twisting their bodies into all kinds of lascivious 
postures. Little can be said for the gracefulness of these motions, 
although many have described them as such. The whole finishes 
by a simultaneous clapping of the hands. 

The party that was despatched for the purpose of makino- an 
attempt to reach the top of Orohena, consisted of fifteen persons, 
including four natives as guides, and an American of the name of 
Lewis Sacket, as interpreter. This man was from the State of New 
York, and was admirably qualified for his duties. 

By the advice of the Rev. Mr Wilson, the party took the route 
across the island which follows the Pappino valley. The distance on 
this line, to Lake Waiherea, is no more than twenty-five miles, 


while by that which follows the shores, it is fifty miles before the 
point at which the ascent begins is reached. None of the guides 
were acquainted with this route, and it was therefore necessary to 
find a person who was. For this purpose they in the first place 
proceeded towards the eastward from Matavai, for about five miles, to 
the mouth of the river Pappino, which they reached about 2 p. m. 
Here they found a guide, and were informed that the stream was much 
swollen : they however determined to go forward, and were accom- 
panied by a troop of boys and girls with flowers. Before they had 
proceeded far, they reached a place where it was necessary to ford 
the stream, which they found difficult on account of the rapidity, 
although the water was only three feet deep. Other fords of the 
same description occurred every few rods, until they at last reached 
one in which the water reached to their necks. This was of course 
dangerous to those who could not swim, but all crossed in safety. A 
young native, as if in derision of the difficulty which they appeared 
to experience, and of their effeminate bringing up, dashed into the 
flood, and was seen plunging down the rapids as if in sport, and 
evidently with great enjoyment, although frequently wholly immersed 
in the foam. Our gentlemen had now an opportunity of comparing 
their own awkwardness and want of ease in the new position in 
which they were placed, with the agility and freedom of motion 
exhibited by the natives. 

The whole afternoon was thus spent in travelling about three 
miles, at the end of which they reached some huts, in which they 
passed the night comfortably. These huts they were informed had 
been erected by natives, who wished to enjoy a carouse of Ava, far 
from the notice of the judges, and free from the intrusion of their 
spies. Here they were able to indulge in their old habits of de- 
bauchery, which not unfrequently ended in riot and bloodshed. 

In the morning, after three hours' travelling, during which they 
frequently crossed the stream, they reached a place where a branch 
of it came in from the southwest. Some natives assured them 
that by taking this route they might reach the top of Pitohiti, 
and stated that this had been done during the last war by some 
natives, who occupied it as a place of refuge. In support of this 
statement, they mentioned that these refugees had found the birds 
so tame that they might be taken by hand. This circumstance, 
which, from its apparent incredibility, might seem to disprove the 
statement, is in fact almost positive evidence of its truth, when 


compared with what we had seen of the birds in uninhabited islands, 
where their habits would naturally correspond to those secluded in 
the mountain solitudes of Tahiti. 

Here they learned that it would be impracticable to accomplish 
both objects of their mission within the time for which they were 
furnished with provisions. It was therefore resolved to divide the 
party into two detachments, one of which should proceed towards the 
lake, and the other endeavour to ascend the mountain. 

It was in this place that the last battle was fought between the 
Christian and heathen parties. Paura, their guide, pointed out all the 
places where any remarkable incidents of the conflict had occurred. 
He seemed to take particular pleasure in drawing the attention of the 
party to two places. In one of these a captain had his head beaten 
to pieces, and the other was a precipice, several hundred feet in 
height, over which the defeated party had been driven and dashed 
to pieces. 

The detachment for the lake pursued its route, and before dark 
reached the solitary residence of a native family, called Waiipi, 
where they were hospitably received, and lodged in a building used 
as a family chapel. This dwelling is situated in a romantic gorge at 
the point of a mountain, and its existence appears to have been 
unknown to the white residents of the coast. 

The next day this detachment proceeded up the bed of the torrent, 
which was even more swollen than before. They were now sur- 
rounded with the wild banana or fahie (Musa rubra), having its 
upright spikes loaded with its beautiful fruit. Besides these, there 
were many tree-ferns from forty to fifty feet high. Most of the trees 
were covered with parasitic plants, which grow with great luxuriance. 
Leaving the bed of the torrent, they soon reached the dividing ridge, 
which, from observations with the sympiesometer, is twenty-seven 
hundred feet above the sea. The summit of this ridge was only a 
few paces in width, and was covered with groves of fahies, clinging, 
and as it were bound by numerous vines, to the rock. In these 
respects, the surrounding peaks closely resemble it. 

The view from the point of the ridge which they had reached, is 
magnificent. The lake lay almost beneath them, at a depth of about 
one thousand feet, surrounded on all sides by perpendicular cliffs, 
and appearing as if inaccessible, while numerous streams rushed in 
silvery foam down the rocks ; and the lake itself seemed diminished 
in size by the vastness of the precipices which enclose it. 


In spite of the steepness of the cliffs, the descent to the lake was 
accomplished without accident, by scrambling down the bed of a 
small stream, although they were compelled to stop from time to 
time, resting upon their staves, or clinging to the shrubs and roots, 
while the stones they had set in motion rushed onwards, accumulating 
others in their course, until the united mass equalled an avalanche. 

When they reached the edge of the lake, their guides constructed 
a hut, in which they passed the night. The next day Lieutenant 
Emmons made a survey of the lake, and sounded its depth from a 
raft. It was found to be half a mile in length, a third of a mile in 
breadth, and in shape nearly oval. The depth in the middle was 
ninety-six feet, whence it gradually decreases to the edge. It had 
rained the whole of the preceding night, and the lake was observed 
to rise about five feet in twenty hours. As far as could be discovered 
it has no outlet ; but the natives assert that if a bread-fruit be thrown 
into the water, it will make its appearance at a spring, which gushes 
from the hill-side, about two miles north of Ooaigarra, and near the 
sea. The height of the surface of the lake, measured by the sym- 
piesometer, is about one thousand seven hundred feet above the level 
of the sea. 

This detachment suffered not a little from the continual rains, by 
which they were kept constantly wet, and from being obliged to sleep 
in their damp clothes. Their guides also became apprehensive that 
they would experience much difficulty in their descent to the southern 
side of the island, in consequence of the Ooaigarra, by whose valley 
the only route lay, becoming so much swollen as to be dangerous. 
It was, therefore, resolved to set out without delay ; but before their 
preparations were completed, they were joined by the other detach- 

This detachment having failed in reaching the summit of Orohena 
had followed the route of the others. The guides who led the moun- 
tain detachment were not found as skilful as they had pretended. 
On the first day, after many unnecessary turnings, they stated that 
it would be necessary to halt, as the hour was late, and there was 
a risk of accident from falling, or from being crushed by stones, for 
which their queen would be held responsible. They then, after much 
searching, led the detachment to the shelter of a vast projecting 
boulder, where the ground was dry, and afforded sufficient room 
to lodge fifty persons. This place was estimated to be two thousand 

30 T A II I T I. 

feet above the sea, and commanded a splendid view over two rich 
valleys, beyond which the sea was visible. 

The fahies were in great abundance around them. This plant is 
not found at levels lower than six hundred feet, and is in its greatest 
perfection at the height of fifteen hundred feet. It is the vai of 
Cook, and is thought to be the banana in its wild state. It, however, 
differs much in the manner of its growth from the cultivated variety, 
for the fruit grows upon an upright spike rising from a crown of 
leaves. The fruit has the same shape as the banana, but is twice as 
large, and is of a deep golden hue, with pulp of dark orange colour. 
It is destitute of seeds, has a taste resembling that of the common 
banana, but of a higher flavour, and the natives are very fond of it. 

This shelter was reported to be the favourite retreat of wild hogs, 
but the detachment was not disturbed by them, and passed the night 
without any other disquiet but that arising from the possibility that 
the projecting boulder, under which they were lodged, might fall and 
crush them. Old Paura made fire by rubbing a pointed stick in a 
groove formed in another, and by its blaze they, after a change of 
clothing, found themselves very comfortable. 

Mr. Dana, who was one of this detachment, was so unwell the next 
morning as to be compelled to return, taking one of the guides with 
him. The other gentlemen, Messrs. Peale, Pickering, Couthouy, 
and Brackenridge proceeded forwards ; but they soon found that the 
guides had no intention to lead them to the top of the mountain, 
during the continuance of the heavy rains, but pursued a course so 
devious and circuitous as to make it probable that they would lose 
the chance of seeing either the mountain or the lake. They felt 
assured that the ascent, under more favourable circumstances, would 
have been practicable, but were satisfied that it would require more 
time than they could spare. Notwithstanding their disappointment, 
they were compelled at last to admit that the guides had acted wisely; 
for during the continuance of such rains as afterwards fell, the ascent 
of the mountain would not only have been difficult, but extremely 

Compelled to abandon the attempt, they followed and overtook Mr. 
Dana, and then turned up the valley. About noon, after having 
crossed the stream so often that a fourth of the way might be said to 
be by water, they reached the residence of the native family Waiipi. 

Dr. Pickering is of opinion that this dwelling would be an excellent 


station for a botanist. It has a rich field around it, and is, besides, 
within a short distance of the most elevated parts of the island. 

They did not stop at this place, but proceeding forwards reached a 
spot called by the natives Opua, where, in a shelter of the same kind 
as that which has been described as their previous bivouac, they 
spent the night. The rain fell in torrents, and about midnight a 
violent thundergust passed through the valley. 

The next morning they went on towards the lake, and on reaching 
the crest of the intervening ridge, the weather moderated, and gave 
them an opportunity of enjoying the extensive prospect it commands. 
Besides the lake at their feet, as seen by the other detachment, they 
had a view of the cleft peak of Orohena, at the distance of about seven 
miles, rising from five thousand to six thousand feet above the spot 
where they stood. Descending the steep sides of the basin of the 
lake, they joined the other detachment about noon. 

It has been stated that the lake had been observed to rise five feet. 
It was now evident that it had reached as high a level as its waters 
ever attain. Many plants (such as the Polygonums) which could 
not live long under such circumstances, were found entirely sub- 
merged, and the water had reached the woody plants on the shores, • 
and threatened their speedy destruction. 

The proposed line of descent lay on the opposite side of the lake, 
and the shores are so precipitous as to prevent walking around it. It 
became necessary, therefore, to cross it upon a raft, which was a slow 
process. The natives swam over. After crossing the lake, the 
journey was continued, but it became necessary to stop before night, 
in order to build a shelter and make a fire. The latter was a difficult 
operation, where every thing was dripping with water. A hut was 
soon built of boughs of the banana, and thatched with its leaves. 
This, although not perfectly water-tight, served their purpose. 

Their provisions fortunately held out. The natives after every meal 
had been careful to gather up all the remnants of food, and to wrap 
them in banana-leaves, by which all waste was avoided. They had 
been disappointed in obtaining any game, or any fish from the lake, 
both of which had been calculated upon. Mr. Peale saw nothing to 
shoot except a few birds, which were limited to four or five species, 
among which were swallows, tropic birds, and small herons. In the 
lake, nothing was seen, although it had been represented as full of 
huge eels. 

In the morning they rose early and began the descent, which was 

32 T A H I T I. 

slow and fatiguing. They found the Ooaigarra very rapid, and were 
compelled to cross it frequently. In this their clothing was an 
encumbrance, for it remained wet, and was consequently heavy, 
while the natives, being naked, became dry in a few minutes after 
they emerged from the water. This toilsome descent occupied about 
four hours. 

The first inhabited place they reached was Mirapahe, where the 
Ooaigurra runs into the sea. This is situated on the south side of the 
island, near the isthmus by which the two peninsulas are united. 

Most of the party were now exhausted by fatigue, so that it was 
with some difficulty that any of them proceeded onwards to Ooari- 
teeva, while a canoe was procured for those who were most overcome. 
Here they were hospitably received by Teharo, the son of the 
governor, Taati, who was himself absent, and took up their quarters 
at the house of the latter. 

It was Wednesday evening, (by the account of the island,) and the 
natives were attending lecture in the church. Some of our gentlemen 
entered the congregation, and excited some sensation among the 
younger part of the assembly ; far less, however, than would be 
evinced should a Tahitian enter one of our churches. The service 
was performed by a native, and consisted of praying, reading the 
Bible, and singing. The old people appeared very devout, and it 
was remarked that many of them were provided with spectacles, to 
enable them to follow the reader in their own books. 

The reading was performed in a low monotonous tone, and the 
hymn was sung to an old English tune, with considerable taste, by 
the female part of the congregation. 

The assembly consisted of about one hundred persons, three- 
fourths of whom were women, all dressed in the usual loose calico 
goAvn, with large straw bonnets, and barefooted. 

In spite of the devotion manifested within the church, the conduct 
of the women after the service was concluded, left room for believing 
that their former licentiousness was not entirely overcome by the 
influence of their new religion. 

When the service was over, nearly the whole congregation col- 
lected, attracted by the sight of so large a number of white strangers. 
According to their own account, the party, in their tattered and 
soiled garments, was not in a condition to produce a very favourable 
impression on these Polynesians. Still, it appeared from an address 
made by their preacher, that he thought that in spite of their forlorn 


condition, they possessed many things which the natives were likely 
to covet, for he exhorted his flock to depart, telling them that some of 
the strangers' articles might be missing, and " then there would be 

Here was witnessed a gorgeous sunset ; — the clouds to the west 
being lighted up as it were with burnished gold, while to the east, 
the rain-clouds overhanging the mountains, exhibited a triple rain- 
bow, which at that hour was of course a complete semicircle. 

In the morning they set out early, and walked to Papara, over the 
"Broom Road." This is about twelve feet in width, and is well 
made, being raised above the level of the ground, and having ditches 
on each side. Over the streams which cross its direction, are bridges 
of loose planks. 

Previous to reaching Papara, they came to a large mound on a 
point of land near the sea-shore. This is the same that is described 
by Cook. The steps of which he speaks are now almost obliterated, 
being entire only at one of the corners, and there is little appearance 
of the stones having been squared. It is now about forty feet high ; 
the space on the top is about twenty feet wide; the base is one 
hundred and forty by fifty feet ; and it is almost entirely overgrown 
with bushes. 

An account of the object of this structure was given by the old 
chief of Panawea. As he is one of the most intelligent chiefs, and his 
statement differs in some particulars from that given by Cook, I think 
proper to insert it. This chief stated that it had not been used as a 
place of sepulture or as a morai, but was a sort of temple or high 
place on which the image of one of their gods had stood ; that for- 
merly many such mounds had existed upon the island, but that 
whenever war broke out between two districts, each was desirous to 
obtain possession of the other's tehee or idol, for the loss of it was an 
acknowledgment that the god was less powerful than that of the other 
district ; that when one district had been subjugated by another, and 
the two districts united into one, the mound of the conquered party 
was destroyed. From this account it would appear that these struc- 
tures had served to mark the boundaries of the several independent 

This account is rendered more probable from the fact that a morai 
of quite a different character exists within a mile or two of this 
mound. This is situated in the midst of a grove of large bread-fruit, 

VOL. II. 9 


poorou, and aiti trees. It is, like the other morais, an enclosure of 
quadrangular form, about sixty yards in height, and thirty in breadth. 
The wall is about ten feet thick and four feet high. The lower part 
of it is composed of five rows of round stones, of uniform size, each 
about the size of a man's head, which the natives now call turtle- 
heads, arranged like cannon-balls in an arsenal. On these lies a 
course of square stones. The corners of the wall are strengthened by 
square blocks. There was also a flat stone, placed upright, at each 
corner, and another in the middle of the enclosure, the last of which 
is called a preaching-stone. 

The chief of Panawea likewise stated, that there used to be in each 
of these morais a sort of platform, supported by stakes, on which 
were laid the bodies of human victims, and the carcasses of hogs, on 
which the tehee or god was supposed to feed ; that the dead brought 
to the place for interment were not buried immediately, but were 
placed in a hut until all the flesh was consumed, after which the 
bones were carefully cleaned, and, with the exception of the skull, 
wrapped in many folds of tapa, and deposited in the enclosure ; that 
the skull was taken home by the nearest relative, and kept as a 
talisman. He added, that only the bones of chiefs were honoured in 
this way, while those of lower rank were deposited on the outside of 
the enclosure. 

Other accounts, however, state that these morais were never used 
as ordinary places of burial, but that the bodies of enemies slain in 
battle were brought to them, and consumed in a fire made on a thick 
part of the wall. 

The party saw an old man, who had his deposit of bread-fruit in 
one of these morais. The bread-fruit in its crude state will keep 
only for a short time ; but if buried in pits, it ferments and forms a 
substance which may be long preserved, called masi. This substance 
has a taste like that of bee-bread, and is used at sea, in the voyages 
the natives make to the Paumotu Group, and in their excursions in 
search of pearls. 

The next place the party reached was Papara, at which Mr. Ors- 
mond of the Mission resides. Taati, who has been named as one of 
the great chiefs, has his usual abode here, but was absent on a visit 
to the ships. Mr. Orsmond was kind enough to offer to such of the 
party as felt too much fatigued to proceed farther on foot, a passage 
to Papieti in his boat. 

The coral reef is interrupted in front of the small bay which makes 


up to Papara, and the surf dashes with some violence against the 
shore ; hut the passage, except for a short distance, was made within 
the reef and in smooth water. 

As Taati was absent, one of his sons, (and he is reported to have a 
dozen,) did the honours of the house, and provided them with break- 
fast. This consisted of pig, taro, and bread-fruit, the standing dishes 
of Tahiti. The table was covered with a cloth made of Russia 
sheeting, and furnished with plates, cups and saucers, knives, forks, 
and spoons. 

In this place, also, a large portion of the popxilation, and particu- 
larly of the women, assembled to have a look at the strangers. It 
was remarked that there was more beauty among the young girls 
than they had before seen upon the island. Many of them had their 
heads gaily and tastefully ornamented with flowers. 

On leaving Papara, they were accompanied by a bevy of these gay 
damsels, laughing and enjoying themselves with each other, and 
with the guides. The latter had also stuck the scarlet Rosa Sinensis 
through the lobes of the ears, and decorated their heads with wreaths 
after the manner of the girls. 

At Papara, the coast begins to wind to the northwest, and gradu- 
ally inclines more to the northward. Their route again lay along the 
Broom Road, which extends completely around the island. It is in 
places almost arched over by trees, that grow on each side of it, and 
form a delightful shade. It may be termed a national work, and but 
for its want of width, would bear comparison with many of the turn- 
pikes in the United States. The streams which intersect it have all 
been once crossed by good bridges of plank, but these are now going 
to decay. 

At short intervals are groves of cocoa-nut trees, planted along the 
road ; these are called the queen's, and travellers are at liberty to help 
themselves to the fruit. The private groves whose fruit it is wished 
to protect, are tabooed. This is indicated by tying a girdle of leaves 
around them, and this simple signal is still respected, although the 
superstition on which its sanctity was founded has ceased to prevail. 
The natives travel a great deal on this road, and some use it in going 
to visit places on the opposite side of the island, in preference to 
passing over the mountains. 

At sunset they reached Otapuna, which is a large village, 
pleasantly situated ou a low point of land, covered with orange, 

36 T A H I T I. 

bread-fruit, and cocoa-nut trees. In this place Utami, one of the 
principal chiefs, who is governor of this district, resides. With him 
our travellers took up their quarters. His dwelling differs from other 
native houses, in being divided into rooms, and having floors of 
plank ; indeed, every thing about his establishment indicated more 
refinement than they had yet met with. His table was set out after 
the European fashion, and he gave them tea made of a native herb. 

Utami is a very intelligent person, and had been one of Pomare's 
great captains. He related many anecdotes of the struggle in 1815, 
which by his account appeared to have been a sanguinary one. He 
stated, that on the retreat of the heathen party, all their prisoners 
were put to death, by beating out their brains with clubs; that 
numbers of them had been forced over precipices ; and that many 
had fled even to the summits of the mountains, where they remained 
until a general pardon and amnesty had been proclaimed by Pomare. 
Even this was not accepted by all, for many remained in the wild 
and dreary regions of the mountains, refusing to embrace the new 
religion ; and of these some had continued to exist until within the 
last five or six years. Utami was of opinion that this remnant was 
now extinct. 

Among other things, he informed them that the wild race which had 
previously inhabited the island, were accustomed to roam all over it ; 
but that since they had been subdued or exterminated, none but the 
cutters of sandal-wood had been accustomed to enter the mountainous 
regions. These had been in the habit of ascendinsr the most difficult 
peaks by the aid of ropes, and of steps cut in the rock, but he was of 
opinion that no one now remained who knew the way. 

Utami was a fine-looking white-headed man, of giant proportions, 
and when speaking of his former deeds in arms, showed a great deal 
of fire and animation. Before he retired to rest he read a chapter in 
the Bible, and made a prayer with much apparent devotion. He 
seems to have a great disposition to adopt European improvements, 
and was engaged in building a house, which when finished, will be 
the best in the island. The floors will be all laid with plank, it will 
have partitions of boards, and large windows with Venetian blinds. 

This village is the next in size and importance to Papieti. 

When this party first descended to the beach and reached Mira- 
pahe, they found a vessel on the stocks there. This enabled them 
to obtain some information in relation to the naval architecture and 


foreign commerce of Tahiti. The vessel was a small schooner, and 
the building of it was superintended by a Yankee. The timber em- 
ployed was that called by the natives rnape (niocarpus edulis), which 
is said to be of excellent quality. The supply of this wood is, 
however, limited. The poorou (Hibiscus tiliaceus), is also employed 
in ship-building, but it can only be procured of small size, and is 
therefore unfit for the structure of many parts of a vessel. 

Several vessels of about one hundred and thirty tons burden have 
already been built upon the island. These have been employed in 
the trade to New South Wales, whither they carry sugar, cocoa-nut 
oil, and arrow-root, and whence they bring back in return hardware, 
cloths, calicoes, &c. In the ports of New South Wales they pay the 
same duties and charges as British bottoms. 

The commercial resources of these islands are very limited ; most 
of the vessels that visit Tahiti are those belonging to our whaling 
fleet : these average less than a hundred annually. From them the 
natives are enabled to dispose of some of the supplies they raise, and 
in return obtain such articles as will promote their comfort and add 
to their pleasure. The whale-ships, for the most part, have articles 
of trade which they barter with the natives, so that little money is 
required to carry on their business. The natives, particularly the 
chiefs, are however well acquainted with the value of money. An 
estimate has been made that each of these vessels introduces goods 
into the islands to the amount of $500 each, making a total amount 
of $50,000; but I very much question whether it can reach this 
extent ; and if this amount be sold, it must include the profits ; half 
the sum, I should think, was a large estimate. 

The few other vessels that visit the islands bring little cargo : if 
two arrive at the same time, they destroy each other's ventures by 
glutting the markets. 

The pearl-shell fishery of the Paumotu Group centres here. I 
was told it was principally in the hands of the French consul. For 
a few years before our arrival, viz., from 1832 to '38, it had been very 
productive. The amount obtained was about nine hundred tons, 
which was estimated to be valued at $45,000 to $50,000; the greater 
part of this was sent to France. Of the agricultural products they 
have little to dispose of as yet ; neither is the island susceptible of 
any very extended operations, to induce vessels to visit it exclusively 
for its trade or productions. The three chief articles of production 

VOL. II. 10 



are sugar, cocoa-nut oil, and arrow-root. The following statement 
was furnished me of the quantities produced. 


Tahiti, . 

. 105 tons, estimated value §8,000 


. 22 " " 



Raiatea, . 

. 15 " " 




1 1 ^00 

1 X jOlfl/ 



. 55 " " 




. 20 " 



Huahine, *. 

. 60 " " 



Borabora and l 
Raiatea, $ 

. 50 " " 



i *t *tnn 

1 o,ov/u 


Of arrow-root there are about fifty tons produced, valued at nearly 
$4,000, which revenue, included with the above, will make the sum 
of nearly $28,000 as the value derived from the agricultural produc- 
tions of all these islands. If they were under proper cultivation, this 
amount would be greatly increased ; and from the estimate of a com- 
petent person, it was believed that the productions might yield, if 
properly attended to, a revenue of $300,000, as coffee, cotton, and 
indigo might be added to the above articles ; but this is undoubtedly 
an estimation one-half too great, and would require an amount of 
labour that the present native population are inadequate to perform, 
and which their climate, wants, and desires will never probably excite 
them to, or render necessary. 






| -A.. Aortii. O. OroTicno., 
1 ~P . FilahitE. "h .~W<iDiereti Lake . 
r,a- 7 15 S. 


Owdjuru y^S 

3 ■■-■ feScu-Jti'TT 


18 39. 

The Porpoise, having been refitted, was sent to sea on the 20th 
September, for the purpose of again visiting the west end of Nairsa 
or Dean's Island, with Krusenstern's and Lazareff. She was also 
ordered to pass over the supposed locality of Recreation Island, and 
then to meet the Vincennes at Rose Island, the easternmost of the 
Samoan or Navigator's Group.* 

A stormy evening having occurred previous to our leaving Matavai 
Bay, "Jim," the pilot, desired to see me; on his coming into the 
cabin, to my great amusement, he urged me to allow him to go to 
Papieti, where he was sure he would be wanted ; and when I asked 
for what purpose, he told me that the "thunder and lightning would 
bring in ships of war." He was displeased when I laughed and said, 
that as he was engaged on board my ship, I would wait until I 
saw the ships before I could give him permission. He then reminded 
me of the night before we arrived, when there was plenty of thunder 
and lightning, and that he had told me as soon as he came on board 
that he expected us. He went on to repeat that he was sure that 
they would want him early in the morning at Papieti, but I persisted 
in my refusal; and in the morning he appeared much disconcerted 
to find that there was nothing in sight out of which he could make 
a ship of war. 

The surveys of the four harbours of Matavai, Papaoa, Toanoa, and 
Papieti, had been, as stated in the preceding chapter, commenced 
soon after our arrival; they had made considerable progress before 

* A copy of the orders will be found in Appendix III. 

VOL. II. 1 1 


the departure of the Vincennes, and were subsequently completed by 
the officers of the Peacock.* 

I was desirous, in addition, of ascertaining with precision the least 
depth of water on the Dolphin Shoal, and had employed boats in 
making accurate soundings. The results, however, were so unsatis- 
factory, on account of the ever-varying level of the tide, that I could 
not hope that they would serve for a reference by which to ascertain 
the future increase of this bank, by the growth of the coral. I 
therefore planted a large stone, with a horizontal surface, and having 
found the shoalest place on the bank, carefully measured the differ- 
ence in the height of the surface of the stone and the rock of the bank, 
by an excellent spirit-level. I then caused a mark to be traced upon 
the surface of the stone, pointing towards the place on the bank 
where the levelling-staff had been placed. The difference of level 
was twenty-five feet seven inches. Old Taua, the chief of the 
district, promised me that he would taboo the stone, and that it 
should not be touched or disturbed on any account ; and, to preserve 
it from any accidental disturbance, it was set four feet into the 

The Vincennes moved to the harboirr of Papieti on the 22d Sep- 
tember. At the same time, orders were given to the Peacock and 
Flying-Fish to take on board their articles from Point Venus, and 
to follow as soon as they had done so. The tender required some 
repairs, which could be done with more safety at Papieti. Both 
vessels joined us in that harbour on the 24th. 

In proceeding to Papieti, we left Matavai Bay in the morning, and 
within a few hours had anchored in the harbour of the former place. 
No soundings are to be had beyond the line of reefs, and consequently 
there is no anchorage ; the outer wall of the reef surrounding the 
island is in fact perpendicular, with the exception of some projecting 
patches in Matavai Bay, and to the eastward of Point Venus. On the 
latter the French frigate Artemise struck, in 1836. 

At the season of the year when we made this short passage, there 
is some danger to be apprehended in entering the harbour of Papieti, 
and much caution is therefore necessary. The trades at this season 
are irregular, and the winds which prevail are light; they also are 
most apt to fail at the critical moment when the vessel is at the 
entrance of the narrow passage through the reefs, in which case the 

* The chart of these harbours will be found in the Hydrographical Atlas. 


current, which rushes strongly out and sometimes across the passage, 
may cause a vessel to drift upon the western reef. The proper mode 
of guarding against this, is to keep the vessel as close as possible to 
the eastern reef. 

The scenery at Papieti is remarkable : the background is filled 
up with a number of pinnacle-shaped mountains, jiitting up in a 
great variety of forms ; beneath, and directly in front of them, lies 
the semicircular harbour, surrounded by the white cottages and 
churches of the village, embosomed in luxuriant foliage ; these 
dwellings have a peaceful and home-like look, to the eye of an 
American. In front, the little coral island of Moto-utu forms an 
embellished foreground, and serves to break the regularity of the 
line of the harbour, while by concealing its extent, it gives it an air 
of greater magnitude than it in reality possesses. To my eye, this 
view combined within itself a perfect picture of Polynesian scenery, 
enhanced in beauty by the signs of civilization, among which was 
the national flag of Tahiti, waving from a fortress on Moto-utu. 

The purpose of my visit to Papieti had originally been to go 
through the ceremony of receiving the great chiefs on board, when, 
according to custom, presents are made them ; but before this was 
done, I determined that the business, which I had laid before the 
council, as stated in the preceding chapter, should be adjusted. This 
was done satisfactorily on the 22d, when they assented to all that had 
been asked of them. I am convinced that their conduct in this 
matter was dictated throughout by a sense of what is right, and am 
satisfied that if grievances do exist, it is only necessary to state them, 
when, if redress is within their power, it will be granted. 

Agreeably to my invitation, Uata, who appeared as the representa- 
tive of the queen, the two princesses, Ninito and Taii, and all the 
head chiefs, visited the ship, accompanied by the foreign consuls. 
The ship was dressed for the occasion with flags, and they were 
received with every mark of respect. Luncheon was prepared for 
them ; and when they were all seated at it, it struck me that I had 
never seen such a collection of corpulent persons. Previous to eating, 
one of the oldest chiefs said grace. Their appetites were good ; none 
of the food appeared to come amiss. They seemed heartily to enjoy 
themselves, and conducted themselves with a propriety that surprised 
us all. They were cautious in partaking of the wine which was set 
before them, and seemed evidently upon their good behaviour. This 
was the case with the high chiefs, who, to the number of about 


fifteen, had been invited ; hut, besides these, about an equal number 
of others" contrived to get on board without invitation ; the latter 
thrust themselves forward with eagerness to occupy places at the 
table, but were compelled to give place to those of higher rank. A 
second table was, however, prepared for them, at which they took 
their seats, and did ample justice to what was set before them. 

The variety of costume which was exhibited at this banquet was 
amusing. The princesses were dressed in white frocks, shoes and 
stockings, and chip bonnets, but looked awkwardly in them, and 
appeared more like boys in girls' clothes than women. Some of the 
men wore full suits, coats, vests, and pantaloons, of a variety of 
colours ; others had sailors' round jackets ; others again had only 
shirts and pantaloons, all too small, both in breadth and length. Some 
had black felt hats of all possible fashions, and others wore them of 
straw ; some had shoes on their feet, others had none. 

Paofai's son attracted attention by his ridiculous appearance : he 
wore a red check shirt, light white pantaloons, that reached only half 
way down his legs, coarse shoes without stockings, and a short- 
skirted drummer's coat of blue, plentifully faced with scarlet. The 
latter was so small for him, that no force would make it button upon 
him. To finish all, he had a high-crowned conical felt hat stuck 
upon the top of his head. 

After luncheon, they repaired to the deck, to receive the presents 
prepared for them. These I had been advised, in order to avoid 
unpleasant scenes, to pack in bundles, assorted to the rank of the 
parties. In spite of this precaution, much consultation took place 
among them, and a desire to exchange with one another was mani- 
fested. This was particularly the case with our old acquaintance 
Taua, and his friend Otore, the ex-minister and former favourite of 
the queen. The presents for the queen and royal family were com- 
mitted to the charge of Uata, who, as has been stated, appeared as the 
representative of her majesty. 

Otore, who has been just named, is only a petty chief, but had 
been the queen's favourite and minister, until he was dismissed in 
consequence of his frequent indulgence in intoxication. He is con- 
sidered as the greatest orator on the island. He and Taua are boon 
companions, and were continually on board the vessels, where they 
so timed their visits that the hour of breakfast was sure to find them 
either actually seated at table or awaiting an invitation. Although at 
first welcome, the habitual intrusion of these and others upon the 



messes, finally became an annoyance, and on board the Peacock they 
had at last recourse to "clearing the ship of strangers" during meals. 
Taua did not mind this ; and when we left Matavai, he was so kind 
as to remove to Papieti, in order to be near his friends. 

Among other visiters on this occasion, I had the honour of the 
company of General Freyre, formerly President of Chili, who has 
chosen Tahiti as his residence. It gave me great pleasure to become 
acquainted with him, particularly as I had it in my power to give 
him recent news from his own country and Peru, which he was 
desirous of hearing. He spoke much of the deprivation he suffered 
by a separation from his family, and from the want of society, but 
littered not a word of complaint against his enemies. 

He lives in a small cottage on the bank of the harbour at Papieti, 
where he is highly respected; his manner and whole deportment are 
gentlemanly; he is tall and robust, with a florid complexion, and 
appears about fifty-five years of age. In the chapter on Chili, his 
public acts have been sufficiently enlarged upon; and although his 
political course may have been much condemned, I can bear testi- 
mony to the high estimation in which his private character is held in 
his native country. 

There are many pretty walks about Tahiti; the small streams, 
flowing through luxuriant woods, add much to its beauty; these 



run bubbling along to the sea, passing many cool and pleasant places ; 
their entrances are usually closed up by the natives, for the purpose 
of taking fish, a sort of dam being constructed, over which the waters 
flow, and the natives standing on the outside, up to their waists in 
water, are often seen taking the fish in baskets. The sketch by Mr. 
Agate is characteristic. 

On arriving at Tahiti, or indeed at any of the islands, respect is 
naturally due to the chiefs; this, I am assured, was felt by us all; but 
long before sailing we became disgusted with seeing these large and 
noble-looking men passing from ship to ship, even including Paofai 
himself, soliciting foul linen to wash, and performing other services 
that were not in keeping with their rank. There is one, however, 
whom I must do justice to, Hitoti. He maintained the character 
given him by Captain Beechey. I was much pleased with his whole 
deportment on his visit to me, and also when I saw him at his own 
house ; he paid but two visits to the ship, and those within a day or 
two of our departure. That he did not visit the vessels before, was 
in order, as was supposed, to avoid the suspicion of trespassing on 
our liberality; he refused to accept any presents, and would only 
drink wine when requested, performing all the little courtesies of the 
table with grace and politeness. 

On his visit to the Peacock, Lieutenant Emmons and Mr. Hale 
being the only gentlemen on board, received him with the attentions 
due his rank ; when taking leave he requested to know their names, 
which were given to him in English orthography ; he at once took 
out his pencil, and with great readiness wrote them in the Tahitian 
dialect, as "Emaani" and "Helavi!" 

Dr. Pickering and Mr. Couthouy being desirous of making another 
attempt to reach the top of Orohena, I willingly gave them the 
longest leave possible, to effect their object. They determined on 
attempting the ascent of the ridge leading directly up from Matavai 
Ba.j, as the one that had appeared to them most practicable. Lewis 
Sacket, who has already been spoken of, was again their interpreter ; 
for guide, Mr. Wilson recommended an old man by the name of 
Vahaore, who was said to be the only person now living who had 
visited the top of Orohena; in this selection they were fortunate : 
Vahaore had been in his youth a great warrior, and his looks did 
not belie it ; he was of the middle size, thin and sinewy, and with a 
fine eye ; although past sixty years of age, he had scarcely a gray 
hair ; his gait was firm and his carriage erect ; he was constant in 


his attention to his duties, and rarely spoke unless relative to his 

After the guides had been engaged, our gentlemen passed the 
night in a native house close by, ready to start at an early hour. At 
daylight, Vahaore and his son were provided with ropes ; the reason 
the old man gave for taking his son was, that he might be able to 
learn the way. They now set out, and by nine o'clock had reached 
a higher point than at any time on their former journey : this was 
about three thousand five hundred feet, and was attained after 
having walked six miles. When they had reached the altitude of 
fifteen hundred feet they no longer found any paths. On arriving at 
this point, they halted for some time to make collections of land- 
shells, and some very interesting specimens were obtained of Helices, 
Partulas, Cyclostomas, Carocollas, and Pupas ; after this they con- 
tinued ascending, the ridge gradually becoming narrower, until they 
reached a spot on the ridge where there was not room for one person 
to pass by another, and where they could look down a precipice on 
each side to depths of two thousand feet. 

Plants that were below of small size here grew into large woody 
shrubs ; among them a species of Epacris was found growing luxu- 
riantly along the crest of the ridges, and magnificent arborescent ferns 
on the mountain sides, some of them forty feet in height ; another 
species was seen whose fronds were more than twenty feet in length. 
Their path was much impeded by the tangled ferns and wiry grass 
(Gleichenia), which it was impossible to get through without the aid 
of a knife or hatchet. They had now reached four thousand five 
hundred feet, the highest point yet attained, according to the guide, by 
white men : two o'clock had arrived, and as there was no place where 
they could encamp, or any chance of reaching a point suitable for 
passing the night in, by the advice of Vahaore, they allowed him to 
look for one. The mountain top was still estimated to be six miles 
distant ; they had little doubt that it could be ascended by follow- 
ing the ridge, and it was thought that they could accomplish the 
task if time permitted. The day was fine, and they enjoyed a view 
of the whole mountain, which appeared as if it were the centre 
from which the different ridges of the island radiate in ten or twelve 
directions towards the coast, having deep and narrow valleys between 
them, through which the mountain torrents rush. These valleys 
spread out as they approach the coast, and the ridges become more 
rounded and accessible. 


After reconnoitring the ground for some time, Vahaore recollected 
a place where they might pass the night, which he thought was not 
far distant, He therefore immediately began to break a road, which 
he continued for about a quarter of a mile along the ridge. He then 
reached a place where the descent might be made, which, however, 
to all appearances, presented as few facilities for the purpose as any 
they had before looked at. They, however, tried it, and after a hard 
scramble reached, about sunset, the place he sought. The descent 
was estimated to be about two thousand feet, and was performed 
partly by leaping from tree to tree, and partly by lowering one 
another by ropes over precipitous ledges from ten to twelve feet in 
height. In the words of Sacket, " No man in his senses ever went 
down such a place before, and none but a fool would attempt to do so 
again." At the foot of the descent lay the first valley, and they 
found themselves among groves of the wild banana (fahies). 

A temporary shelter was soon constructed on the banks of a 
mountain stream, which ran headlong by. In this, Vahaore amused 
himself by catching eels, a sport in which he was expert, and which he 
performed in the following manner : having found a small basin at 
the foot of the cliff, in which an eel was concealed, he placed a large 
fiat stone in the middle of it, and began to bale out the water with 
his hands ; he next disturbed the fish, which sought shelter beneath 
the stone, when by cautiously introducing his hands he contrived to 
grasp it, and by a sudden jerk threw it thirty or forty feet into the 
woods, when he easily secmred it. In this manner two eels were 
taken, nearly four feet in length, and as thick as a man's arm. The 
eels were not skinned, but carefully cleaned and washed ; they were 
then wrapped in leaves, and cooked in the usual Polynesian manner. 
Thus prepared, they proved a great delicacy. These eels, although 
much esteemed by the natives, appear to be almost unknown to the 
white residents. 

The idea of ascending the peak was now abandoned, and in the 
morning they set out on their return to the coast. In their route, 
they crossed several spurs of the main ridge. About noon they again 
halted, and employed themselves in making collections, while Va- 
haore again went a fishing. He soon returned with three eels, the 
largest of which was upwards of three feet in length. These eels 
are of a uniform dark olive colour on the back, which passes on the 
belly to a dirty white. 

Early in the afternoon they reached the lower valley, with the 


stream called Pappiamatia, about twenty yards wide, and from two to 
three feet deep, running down it. About five miles from the coast 
they passed a range of basaltic columns, one-fourth of a mile in 
length; the cliff presenting a perpendicular wall, rising up at the 
east side of the stream, formed columns, one hundred and fifty feet 
high; the number of sides varied from four to seven, and their 
diameter from nine inches to two feet. The ridge at whose base this 
was found, was upwards of two thousand feet high. The party 
reached Matavai Bay at sunset. 

The ridge that our gentlemen followed, is considered by them as 
the most feasible route to the summit of Orohena; the greatest 
difficulty with which the attempt is attended arises from the dislike 
of the natives to visit places where they have not been before, and 
their anxiety to keep themselves within the region of the fahies. 

Pitohiti might also be reached by the same route ; there is little 
doubt that the latter has also been ascended by following the western 
branch of the Pappino valley, a route which was also considered 
feasible by our party ; a third route might also be found by following 
the main branch of the Pappino, which, as will be seen on the map, 
rises behind Pitohiti. 

This excursion furnished more full information, in relation to the 
nreolooncal structure of the island than had before been obtained. 
This is exclusively volcanic, and the rocks are either compact basalts, 
or conglomerates of basalt and tufa, although no active volcano exists, 
nor any well-defined crater, unless Lake Waiherea can be considered 
as one. Through these rocks olivine and pyroxene are copiously 
disseminated; cellular lava was found in some places, but neither 
pummice nor obsidian ; quartz and mica were not observed, nor any 
carbonate of lime, except in the form of coral rock. 

There is no conformity between the rocks of the centre of the 
island and those which in most places extend inwards for a few 
miles from the coast. The former are usually compact, of columnar 
structure, and exhibit no appearance of horizontal stratification ; the 
latter lie in horizontal layers, composed of scoriaceous and vesicular 
lava. In both of these structures, singular twistings and contortions 
were observed. Many dikes were seen to occur, not only in the 
mountains, but near the sea-coast ; these were from three to six feet 
in width. 

All the rocks of the island appear to be undergoing rapid decom- 
position. Even in places where the rock seemed to have retained its 

VOL. II. 13 


original form of sharp edges and pointed pinnacles, it was found so 
soft, to the depth of a foot or more, as to crumble in the hand. The 
earth thus formed varies in colour from that of Indian red to a light 
ochrey tint ; in consequence, many of the hills are of a red hue, and 
one immediately behind Papieti, takes its name (red hill) from this 

This decomposed earthy matter, mixed with the abundant decayed 
vegetation of a tropical climate, forms, as may be readily imagined, a 
soil of the greatest, fertility, adapted to every kind of cultivation. On 
the higher grounds, the soil thus constituted has the character of a 
clay, and is in wet weather slippery and unctuous ; in lower positions 
it is mixed with lime derived from coral and shells, which often tends 
to augment its fertility. 

Iron abounds throughout; on the mountains to such an extent that 
compasses were found of little use from the local attraction by which 
they were affected ; and on the shore, the sand was composed in part 
of iron, which could be separated by the magnet. 

Water gushes out near the coast in copious springs, but none 
of them were found hot, nor were any warm springs reported to 

Papieti, in whose harbour we were now lying, is one of the largest 
villages on the island ; being the ordinary residence of the queen, and 
the abode of the foreign consuls. The foreign residents are also, for 
the most part, collected here. Among all its dwellings, the royal 
residence, and the house of Mr. Pritchard, are the only ones which 
possess the luxury of glazed windows. The houses of the foreigners 
are scattered along the beach, or built immediately behind it 

The bay of Papieti is the safest, and its port affords the greatest 
facilities for the repair and supply of vessels, of any belonging to the 
island. For the first purpose a wharf and warehouse have been con- 
structed, which are let to those who wish to use them. We occupied 
them for ten days, for which we paid thirty dollars. The tender was 
hove out at the wharf, and her equipment secured in the warehouse. 
A limited supply of ships' stores and chandlery is kept for sale, and 
may also be purchased from the vessels which frequent the port. 

The greater part of the commercial business of Tahiti is transacted 
here, whither the articles for export from other parts of the island are 
brought to be re-shipped. The number of vessels which visit this 
port annually, is about sixty, of which the largest portion are whalers; 
the remainder are transient merchantmen, or regular traders from 


New South Wales. The latter bring cotton fabrics, which they 
exchange for sugar, molasses, arrow-root, and cocoa-nut oil. The 
value of the exports in this direction is supposed to be about $35,000. 

The amount of American manufactured goods imported into the 
island is estimated at an equal sum ; they find their way here in 
transient ships from the coast of Sotith America, and the supplies 
furnished our whale-ships are generally paid for in American goods. 

It is almost impossible, in the absence of all statistics, to arrive at 
any correct statement of the amount of foreign manufactures annu- 
ally consumed here ; but the quantity is evidently on the increase. 

By a regulation of the colonial government of New South Wales, 
Tahitian vessels are allowed to enter their ports on the same footing 
with the English. There are several vessels engaged in the trade, 
and others building. 

The position of this island, in the vicinity of the cruising-ground 
of our whale-ships, and the resources it possesses for supplying ship- 
ping, make it a desirable point of rendezvous. 

The following statement will show the number and' value of Ame- 
rican vessels visiting this island in the years 1836, '37, and '38. 




1836 , 

. 52 . 





. 57 . 




. 42 



9 merchant- 






A census recently taken, gives for the population of Tahiti nine 
thousand, and for that of Eimeo one thousand. When this is compared 
with the estimates of the navigators who first visited these islands, an 
enormous decrease would appear to have taken place. The first esti- 
mates were, however, based on erroneous data, and were unquestion- 
ably far too high ; yet there is no doubt that the population has fallen 
off considerably in the interval. The decrease may be ascribed in 
part to the remains of the old custom of infanticide, in part to new dis- 
eases introduced from abroad, and the evils entailed upon them by 
foreigners, and in part to the transition now going on from a savage 
to a civilized life. 

Whatever may have been the case, during the first years after it 
was visited by Europeans, the population for the last thirty years has 
been nearly stationary ; the births and deaths are now almost exactly 


in equal numbers. One of the oldest of the missionaries informed 
me, that although he saw much change in the character and habits 
of the people, he could perceive none in their apparent numbers. 

Tahiti does not appear to be afflicted by many diseases. Some 
have been introduced by foreign ships, and among others, the venereal, 
from which the natives suffer much, being in possession of no method 
of arresting its ravages, and ignorant of the proper mode of treating 
it. In connexion with this subject, the want of a physician as a part 
of the missionary establishment, struck me as an instance of neglect 
in its managers, and I was surprised to hear that the London Society 
did not employ any medical men. From this cause, not only are the 
natives deprived of the benefits which might so easily have been 
conferred upon them, but the missionaries themselves are compelled 
to pay, out of their private purses, for medical aid, when it can be 
procured. They are even at times wholly without a physician. 
This happened to be the case at the time of our arrival, when a 
medical practitioner who had formerly resided on the island, had just 
taken his departure. 

The effects of intoxication from ardent spirits and ava are said to 
have swept off many of the inhabitants. Secondary syphilis is in 
some cases severe, but their usual vegetable diet and simple mode of 
living, together with frequent ablutions, tend to mitigate this dis- 
ease. Its continued prevalence, as well as the severity of some of 
the cases, are ascribable to the inordinate use of mercury, admi- 
nistered by a physician who was accustomed to distribute it in 
inordinate quantities among the affected, who were of course 
ignorant of its nature and consequences. 

While lying at Papieti, we had an opportunity of seeing the 
manner in which justice is administered in criminal cases. The 
court was held in the Council House, an oblong building, in the 
native style ; the alleged crime was assault with intention of rape ; 
the judges were seated on mats, having Paofai, their chief, a little in 
front of the rest ; and the audience sat or stood around. The culprit 
was a petty chief, called Ta-ma-hau, a man of huge size, and 
apparently somewhat of a bully ; he stood during the trial leaning 
against one end of the house, with an air of cool indifference. His 
accuser was a damsel not remarkable for personal beauty ; she sat 
near the door among a number of other women. The witnesses 
were patiently heard, and the matter argued, after which the six 
judges severally gave their opinions and made remarks on the 


evidence, to which Paofai listened in an attentive and dignified 
manner, expressing, as occasion demanded, his assent or dissent. 
He then pronounced the verdict of the court, by which the prisoner 
was acquitted, but did not dismiss him without a brief and merited 
admonition. It appeared, that although not guilty of the crime 
alleged, he had while intoxicated addressed indecent language to his 

Cultivation has undergone a great change within a few years, from 
the introduction of the guava, which has overrun the lower plain ; 
the pasturage has not only suffered, but to its destructive effects are 
attributed many evils. Ten years prior to our visit, about which 
time the guava was introduced by the missionaries, the plain, from 
the sea to the base of the hills, was covered with verdure ; and now it 
is overrun with an almost impenetrable thicket, before which all 
other vegetation disappears. I am inclined to think, that although 
this tree is now looked upon by the natives as a great curse, it will in 
time be beneficial to them, and cause them to become industrious, 
when they are obliged to get rid of it to make room for their sugar- 
cane, cotton, and indigo plantations ; which products succeed re- 
markably well, can be raised at small cost, and will before many 
years be in great demand. 

The cocoa-nut trees were also reported to have been decreasing, 
but our inquiries did not confirm this statement. 

The manner of ascending the trees by the natives, has been fre- 
quently described, but can scarcely be imagined until witnessed ; the 
feat is performed by leaping without any cessation, even in climbing 
the highest tree ; the body of the tree being rough or composed of 
rings, affords some hold for the thong which spans the tree between 
the feet; at every jump, the body is thrown entirely free from the tree. 

The bread-fruit tree is also said to have decreased, and this is no 
doubt the case ; the seeds are said to be often abortive at Tahiti, for 
which reason the cultivation in this way has been neglected of late, 
and the plants raised in other modes have become less productive in 
consequence ; its timber is used for many purposes ; the fruit was 
not in season while we were at Tahiti. 

Wild sugar-cane was found in the interior, commonly growing in 
tufts, but so small in size that it was with difficulty recognised ; the 
cultivated kind is derived from this, and is also of small size. 

The fruits we met with were oranges, lemons, limes, shaddocks, 
pine-apples, papayas, bananas, figs, vi-apple, fahies, cocoa-nut, and 

VOL. 11. 14 


bread-fruit; the six first mentioned have been introduced since Cook's 

The vegetables are sweet-potatoes (Convolvulus), yams of small 
size, taro (Caladium esculentum), the ape (Caladium macrorhizon), 
turnips, onions, and leeks ; but there were no common potatoes culti- 
vated. I gave Mr. Wilson some of the yellow Peruvian potato 
(Papas amarillas), but he informed me that all their attempts to raise 
potatoes in the low ground had failed. 

The tacca, from which arrow-root is manufactured, grows in 
quantities, but we did not see it cultivated. 

In the botanical researches it was remarkable that not a single 
stem of paper mulberry (Broussonetia) was found, although former 
visiters speak of it as the tree from which their cloth was made. 

There are a vast variety of ornamental shrubs, and many aromatic 
plants, which the natives use to perfume their cocoa-nut oil. 

The tutui tree (Aleurites triloba), the nut of which is iised in 
tattooing, is very common all over the island. 

Tobacco is grown in small quantities. 

Mr. Henry informed me that grapes succeeded well on the south- 
east side of the island. 

The price of labour is from two to four dollars a month, but for 
occasional labour fifty cents a day is usually paid. 

Wild hogs are said to be numerous in the mountain region ; none 
of our parties, however, met any. Horses are possessed by many 
persons on the island, and goats were seen. Dogs and cats were 
abundant. The island is well supplied with cattle ; they are suffered 
to run wild, and frequent the neighbourhood of the hills, whither 
they are obliged to go for pasturage, which is now very scarce on the 
island, on account of the thick growth of the guava. 

After the departure of the Vincennes, a party from the Peacock, 
consisting of Mr. Dana and some others, obtained leave of absence 
from Captain Hudson for five days, with the design of ascending 
Mount Aorai. They commenced the ascent immediately in the rear 
of Papieti, and by noon on the second day had reached an elevation 
of five thousand feet, where they stood upon a platform about twelve 
feet square ; thence they looked down eastward two thousand feet 
into the Matavai Valley ; to the westward they had a gorge about a 
thousand feet deep running into Toanoa Valley ; to the south, the 
platform on which they stood was united by a narrow ridge with 
Mount Aorai, which was apparently only a short distance before 


them. In this place they were compelled to pass the night, by a fog 
which enveloped them, through which the guides were unwilling to 
lead them, refusing to proceed further along the dangerous path until 
the clouds should clear away. 

The next morning was clear, and they pursued their ascending 
route along; the edg-e of a ridge not more than two or three feet in 
width, having on each side an abyss two thousand feet deep. Seen 
from this ridge, looking south, Mount Aorai seemed a conical peak, 
but as it was approached it proved to be a mountain wall, whose edge 
was turned towards them. The only ascent was by a similar narrow 
path between precipices, and surpassed in steepness those they had 
already passed. The width of the crest seldom exceeded two feet, 
and in some cases they sat upon it as if on horseback, or were com- 
pelled to creep along it upon their hands and knees, clinging to the 
bushes. At last they reached the summit, where they found barely 
room to turn around. The ridge continued for only a short distance 
beyond them, being then cut across by the Punaania Valley. 

From the summit of Aorai they had a magnificent view ; to the 
south, it was speedily bounded by the peaks of Orohena and Pitohiti, 
whose steep sides rose from the valley beneath them ; to the east, 
they had the rapid succession of ridge and gorge which characterizes 
Tahitian scenery ; to the west, over a similar series of jagged ridges, 
Eimeo and Tetuaroa stood out from the horizon of the sea in bold 
relief; to the north, they looked down upon the plain, studded with 
groves of cocoa-nut and orange, and upon the harbour with its ship- 
ping, and the encircling reefs of coral. 

A short distance below the summit of Mount Aorai, a mass of 
turrets and pinnacles, which from its singular outline is called the 
crown, runs along the top of a narrow ledge. 

Except the plain of the coast, no level land is in sight but the 
valley of Punaania ; this is divided from that of Matavai by a ridge 
of the usual edge-like form, running upwards towards Orohena. 

Very few of the natives who are now alive have been on the 
summit of Aorai ; their paths in this direction, as in other places, do 
not lead beyond the limit of the groves of wild banana (fahie). 
Beyond the height at which these cease to grow, the ground is chiefly 
covered with a wiry grass (Gleichenium), which springs up in many 
places to the height of ten feet, and is every where almost impene- 
trable. When this was not too high, they broke it down by casting 
their bodies at full length upon it ; and when of larger growth, they 


had recourse to cutting away or breaking its stiff and crowded stems, 
until they had formed a way beneath it, whence the light was 
almost excluded. 

The want of water, which after a few days of dry weather is 
seldom found even in the elevated valleys, was an additional dis- 
comfort. It is to be recommended to future travellers in the 
mountains of Tahiti to make provision against this inconvenience. 
The party was so much distressed from this cause as to enjoy the 
dew upon the leaves as a luxury. 

Mr. Dana reported that the visit to Aorai conclusively settled one 
questionable point in the geology of the island. He found upon its 
summit neither corals nor " screw-shells," which vague rumours have 
long located on the top of the Tahitian mountains. Every one who 
has visited this island has probably heard that such formations exist in 
these lofty positions ; but the report rests wholly on native authority. 
Moera, the guide who accompanied the party, and who resides near 
One-Tree Hill, insisted that he had seen both, and promised to show 
them. On reaching the summit, he began digging, and the rest of 
the party aided him. He soon brought up what he called coral, but 
which proved to be a grayish trachytic rock ; and, although he con- 
tinued to dig for some time longer, he could find nothing which he 
could venture to exhibit as screw-shells. 

In their descent from Mount Aorai they followed the western side of 
the valley of Papaoa, along a narrow ledge, similar to that by which 
they had ascended. After proceeding for two hours they reached a 
small plain, which speedily narrowed to a mere edge of naked rock, 
with a steep inclination; this they were compelled to traverse on 
their hands and knees, taking the greatest care to avoid detaching the 
rock, which in many places overhung a precipice; next followed a 
perpendicular descent of about twenty-five feet, down which they let 
themselves by ropes; this difficulty overcome, the rest of the route 
presented no dangerous features, and was performed in safety. 

The manufactures of Tahiti are of little amount. Among them is 
that of arrow-root from the tacca (Pinnatifida), which employs a por- 
tion of the population. Cocoa-nut oil is also made, and preserved for 
use in pieces of bamboo, cut off at the joints, when the natural dia- 
phragms form a bottom, and the piece is thus a convenient bucket. 
This oil is often scented with aromatic herbs, to be employed by the 
natives in anointing the hair and body ; it is also used for burning in 
lamps, and is exported in considerable quantities. The lamps, which 


are always kept burning in their houses at night, are made of the 
shell of a cocoa-nut. The wick is formed of wild cotton, and is kept 
upright in the centre of the bowl by two elastic strips of cocoa-nut 
leaf crossing: each other at right anodes. 

Sugar is beginning to attract attention, and some attempts have 
also been made in the culture and preparation of indigo. 

Making straw or chip hats is a favourite occupation among the 
women, whose former employment of making tapa has, as was stated 
in the preceding chapter, been much diminished by the introduction 
of European fashions. 

I have also before referred to the abortive attempt of the mis- 
sionaries to introduce machinery for the manufacture of cotton, which 
will be again mentioned in speaking of the island of Eimeo, where 
the experiment was made. 

Before closing my remarks on Tahiti, I consider it my duty to say 
a few words in relation to the transgression of the local laws by many 
of the vessels which visit it, and some of which, I regret to be 
compelled to confess, bear the flag of the United States. I have 
particular reference to the license always allowed to the crews, and 
in which the masters and officers often themselves indulge, in making 
brothels of their ships. They also do not scruple to retail ardent 
spirits to the natives, although they well know that it is contrary to a 
law of the island, most strictly enforced on shore. Such conduct not 
unfrequently gives rise to difficulties very prejudicial to the interests 
of the owners ; but it is still more disgraceful when considered in its 
destructive effect upon the people whose hospitality they are enjoy- 
ing, and as a practice that they would not dare to indulge in, when 
in the ports of any civilized nation. 

The influence of the example of these visiters upon the natives is 
demoralizing in the extreme, is calculated to retard their advancement 
in civilization, and throws countless difficulties and obstructions in the 
way of the laudable exertions of the missionaries. 

Little idea can be formed by those who have not witnessed it, of 
the extent to which the practice of vending spirits is carried, not only 
at Tahiti, but throughout the Polynesian islands. I am satisfied, 
that if the owners of the vessels which indulge in it were aware of 
the traffic, and had a just sense of their own interest, they would 
interdict the sale of this pernicious article, and prohibit the carriage 
of it in their ships. 

Captain Hudson, who was much troubled with the illicit supply of 

VOL. II. 15 


spirits to his men, and was aware of the fact that the practice of 
vending it was contrary to law, endeavoured to discover the parties 
engaged in this traffic. He did this not only for the sake of his own 
crew, who, when questioned, stated that their intoxication was pro- 
duced by gin, bought at the rate of three dollars a bottle, but to aid 
the natives in their exertions to prevent the infraction of their laws 
by the white residents. In pursuance of these objects, he called a 
meeting of the chiefs, and stated his complaint. They forthwith 
ordered search to be made for the offenders by the police, by which 
some of them were discovered and immediately fined. At the 
examination, however, the chiefs stated to Captain Hudson, with 
what truth I do not pretend to say, that seventy cases of gin had been 
landed by our own consul, from whom they believed that the retailers 
had obtained it, while the main stock being upon his premises, under 
the United States' flag, was protected from search. 

The repairs of the Flying-Fish were not completed before the 10th 
October, up to which time the Peacock was detained, not only in 
order that they might sail in company, but because her officers were 
still engaged in the survey of the harbours. In the interval of leisure 
which was thus afforded them, the crew of the Peacock asked and 
obtained permission to get up a theatrical entertainment, for the 
amusement of the natives and themselves. The Council House was 
placed at their disposal for the piupose by the native authorities. The 
plav chosen was Schiller's " Robbers," the parts of which had been 
rehearsed at sea, in the afternoons — a task which had been the source 
of much amusement. An opportunity was now presented of getting 
it up well : the dresses having been prepared, the day was appointed, 
and when it arrived the piece was performed ; the acting was thought 
by the officers very tolerable, and finally gave great delight to the 
natives. The latter, however, were somewhat disappointed in the 
early parts of the performance, for they had expected an exhibition of 
juggling, such as had been given for their entertainment on board of 
a French frigate. While under this feeling, they were heard to say 
there was too much parau (talk). After they began to enter into the 
spirit of the performance, the murders took their fancy, and they 
were diverted with the male representatives of the female characters. 

A number of comic songs, which formed the relief of the more 
serious play, were exceedingly applauded ; among others they laughed 
heartily at " Jim Crow" sung in character, and could not be per- 
suaded that it was a fictitious character. 



On the 25th September, the Vincennes sailed from the port of 
Papieti for the island of Eimeo. The distance between its reef and 
that of Tahiti, measured by the patent log, is ten miles. 

Eimeo is a beautiful object in the view from Tahiti, and its beauty 
is enhanced on a nearer approach; its hills and mountains may, 
without any great stretch of the imagination, be converted into 
battlements, spires, and towers, rising one above the other ; their gray 
sides are clothed here and there with verdure, which at a distance 
resembles ivy of the richest hue. 

Taloo harbour is an inlet about three miles in depth, situated in a 
glen enclosed by precipitous sides rising in places to the height of 
two thousand feet; at its head is an extensive flat of rich alluvial 
soil, now employed in the culture of sugar, and studded with trees, 
shrubs, and other interesting objects. The ship lay at anchor close 
beneath a high mountain on the left, in contrast with which her 
dimensions seemed those of a cock-boat. 

I had been furnished with letters to the Rev. Mr. Simpson, who is 
stationed as missionary at Eimeo ; when we landed, he met us upon 
the beach, and gave us a most cordial reception ; we were soon 
surrounded by nearly all the natives in the place, male and female, 
old and young, who followed us with expressions of wonder; their 
conduct reminded me of the manner in which an Indian chief is run 
after in the streets of our American cities. In spite of their excite- 


ment they were all extremely civil, and said they only wished to look 
at us, although some were disposed to feel us. 

Mr. Simpson led the way to his house, passing by a thick and 
well-built stone wall, the only one which I had seen used as an 
enclosure in these islands ; on my inquiring if it was the work of 
native labour, I was informed that it had been erected by an Irish- 
man, who is now the overseer of Mr. Simpson's sugar plantation. 
This wall encloses a large lawn, with a number of fine bread-fruit 
trees ; on each side of the walk was a row of low acacias, which were 
at the time in full bloom, with flowers of many colours, yellow, 
orange, red, and variegated; at the end of the walk was a low- 
thatched white cottage. 

Mr. and Mrs. Simpson have the care of a school for the children 
of missionaries and respectable white parents ; these are kept entirely 
separate from the children of the natives ; the reason assigned for this 
exclusiveness is, that the danger of the former receiving improper 
ideas is such as to preclude their association with the latter. This 
may be good policy as far as the white children are concerned, 
although I doubt its having a good effect on their minds if they are 
destined to spend their lives among the islands. The habit they will 
thus acquire of looking upon the natives as their inferiors, cannot fail 
to have an injurious influence on both. The exclusiveness is carried 
so far, that the children of whites by native women, although they 
are united in the relation of husband and wife, are not admitted into 
these schools, because, as they say, they do not wish their children 
to be contaminated by intercourse with such a mixture of blood. In 
pursuance of the same policy they have, as it is said, procured the 
enactment of a law prohibiting marriage between whites and the 

This, I must say, appeared to me the worst feature I had seen in 
the missionary establishment. It is placed here for the avowed pur- 
pose of reclaiming the natives from idolatry, and the vices which are 
its concomitants. In doing this, their most successful efforts have 
been in the conversion and moral improvement of the young; yet 
they bring up their own children to look down upon them as beings 
of an inferior order. In becoming acquainted with this feature, I no 
longer wondered at the character, which I was compelled by a regard 
for truth to give, of the children of missionary parents in Tahiti. 

The missionaries are now aware that their proper plan is to devote 


their time and attention to the young ; and in pursuance of this 
object, Mr. and Mrs. Howe have lately arrived from England, for the 
purpose of establishing an infant school. 

It is to be regretted that the schools of manual labour have, for 
what reason I could not learn, been discontinued. Some of the 
natives who had been instructed in them evinced a knowledge of the 
trade of the carpenter, and furnished the ships with very good boards 
sawn by themselves. 

The natives of Eimeo have an advantage over those of Tahiti in 
being free from the influence of evil example : many of them are 
industrious, and possess a proper feeling of the benefits they have 
derived from the missionaries, of whom they speak, whenever ques- 
tioned, as friends. 

Three of our crew having become enamoured of these islands, 
deserted while the Vincennes lay at Eimeo. They left the ship 
about 10 o'clock at night, soon after which their absence was dis- 
covered, and parties sent out in every direction to intersect the roads 
and drive them to the hills. This was effected the following; morning, 
and a large party of natives was employed to hunt them up. This 
task they speedily performed, and at last drove the deserters to one 
of the highest ridges, in full view of the ship. Here the runaways 
appeared at first disposed to make fight with stones ; but when they 
saw the odds against them, and witnessed the alertness of the natives 
in leaping from cliff to cliff, they thought it best to give themselves 
up ; which they did to three natives, naked except the maro, and 
armed respectively with a rusty sword, an old cutlass, and a piece of 
iron hoop. These bound their hands and led them down to the 
shore, whence they were brought on board, where the three natives 
received the reward offered for their apprehension. The chase and 
capture was an amusing sight to those who watched the proceedings 
from the ship. 

Eimeo has, if possible, a more broken surface than Tahiti, and is 
more thrown up into separate peaks ; its scenery is wild even in com- 
parison with that of Tahiti, and particularly upon the shores, where 
the mountains rise precipitously from the water, to the height of 
twenty-five hundred feet. The reef which surrounds the island is 
similar to that of Tahiti, and as we have seen to be the case there, no 
soundings are found on the outside of it. Black cellular lava abounds, 
and holes are found in its shattered ridges, among which is the 

VOL. II. 16 


noted one through which the god Oroo is said to have thrown his 

While we remained at Eimeo, I visited Papoa or Cook's Harbour, 
which lies to the east of that of Taloo. There is a marked resem- 
blance between the two ports, except that the shores of Papoa are not 
quite as precipitous as those of Taloo, and the entrance of the former 
not as practicable. 

Wood and water may be had at both harbours in abundance, but 
in other respects the island is not well adapted as a place for the 
supply of ships. No more than a single ship would probably be able 
to find refreshments at a time. It is, therefore, seldom visited, and its 
surplus produce is carried to Tahiti for sale. Notwithstanding, the 
articles of traffic are quite as dear as at Tahiti. 

The inhabitants of Eimeo reside upon the shores, and there are 
several large villages on the southern side of the island ; among these 
is Afareaitu, at which the Rev. Mr. Hale, whose recent arrival has 
been spoken of, is about to take up his residence. 

It was in this island that the establishment of a factory for spinning 
cotton, and weaving cloth and carpets, was attempted by Messrs. 
Armitage and Blossom, who were sent out for the purpose by the 
London Missionary Society. Its failure and cessation after a fair 
trial have already been mentioned. 

It has been seen that the alluvial plain at the head of the harbour 
of Taloo, is partly occupied by plantations of sugar. The cane is of 
superior quality, and the climate well adapted to its production ; the 
plant is indeed indigenous, and it is well known that the variety of it 
found at Tahiti has been introduced advantageously into the West 
Indies. At Eimeo the crop is liable to injury from the ground-rat, 
and there are difficulties attending the management of the crop, 
which cause the cultivators to speak despondingly. About one 
hundred tons, however, are made annually. 

Coffee, cotton, and all other tropical plants, succeed well at Eimeo, 
and the quantity of tapa manufactured is greater in proportion than 
at Tahiti. 

I took the opportunity of my anchorage in the harbour of Eimeo, 
to verify the chart made by Captain Von Schantz, of the Russian 
ship America, and found it accurate. I have added some soundings, 
and laid down the topography of the shores, and the outline of the 
reefs, more minutely than he had attempted. 



On leaving Eimeo, I bade adieu to the Tahitian islands ; but I 
cannot close the portion of the narrative which is devoted to them, 
without again expressing the pleasure I and all my officers derived 
from our intercourse with the missionaries, and our obligations for 
the kindness received from them and other residents. Among those 
to whom we are indebted, I cannot refrain from naming George 
Pritchard, Esq., H. B. M. Consul, of whose strenuous exertions to 
advance the welfare of the people, and sustain the government in its 
efforts to promote their best interests, I became by observation fully 
aware. It is to be regretted that his very activity in thus labouring 
in many ways for the good of the community in which he resides, 
should be the probable cause of unkind and unfounded imputations, 
from those actuated, if not by motives positively bad, at least by a 
less enlightened or less ardent zeal. 



S A V A I I 


iL£JiJ h) j 

T r I L A 

^ j£' Capr JLttiituUi 

A V A I 


H A y J ^ASDJi J g LA fl u s 






T U T U I L A. 

On the 29th, at daylight, having the wind from the northward and 
eastward, we got under way, and made sail to the westward, passing 
the Society Island Group : viz., Sir Charles Saunders' Isle, Huaheine, 
Tahaa, Borabora, Maufili, and Moutoiti. All of these, with the excep- 
tion of the last, are high lands. 

On the 30th of September, we made Bellinghausen's Island, which 
is a low coral island, similar to those which have been already 
described. It was uninhabited, and is of a triangular form, with the 
usual vegetation, with the exception of cocoa-nut palms. We landed 
upon it, and made the magnetic experiments. 

Birds were in great plenty, and as tame as we had found them at 
other uninhabited islands we had visited. No lizards or rats were 
observed, nor was the common fly seen. The lagoon had no passage 
into it at low water, but the tide flowed into it over the reef. 

During the time of our stay on the island, the tide rose and fell 
upwards of two feet, and it was high water at 8 a. m. Many speci- 
mens of fish were obtained here, of which the department of Natural 
History will treat. 

In the afternoon, we again made sail to the westward, for Rose 
Island, and on the 6th we passed near the locality of the Royal 
George Shoal, but saw nothing of it. 

On the 7th, which was the day appointed for our rendezvous off 
Rose Island, we came in sight of it, and at the same time descried 
the Porpoise. That vessel had passed by Nairsa or Dean's Island, and 
connected the survey of it with that of Krusen stern's and Lazareff. 

68 T U T U I L A 

Both of these were found to have entrances into their lagoons ; they 
are uninhabited, though occasionally visited by the natives of Nairsa 
Island. The position of Recreation Island was passed over, but no 
signs of land discovered. 

Rose Island, the most eastern of the Samoan Group, was dis- 
covered by Freycinet ; who gave it its name. It appears, at first, 
like a round knoll of land, but on a nearer approach, this is found to 
arise from a large clump of Pisonia trees, similar to those found 
growing in the low archipelago. It is a low annular coral island of 
small dimensions, inundated at high water, with the exception of two 
small banks, one of which is entirely covered by the clump of trees. 
The other is formed of dead coral, without any vegetation. The tide 
was found here to rise about four and a half feet, the flood setting to the 
eastward. The breakers on its weather or southeast side are heavy ; 
and there is an entrance into the lagoon having four fathoms depth of 
water through it. The lagoon has from six to twelve fathoms in it, 
A remarkable coral formation, like a submerged tree, thirty feet in 
diameter over its top, was found in the centre of the lagoon, rising to 
the level of low water, and having all around it a depth of six 
fathoms. The currents set regularly out and in to the lagoon, 
according to the state of the tide. In stormy weather the sea must 
make a complete breach over the reef. 

Some boulders of vesicular lava were seen on the coral reef; they 
were from twenty to two hundred pounds weight, and were found 
among blocks of coral conglomerate. 

Birds were seen flying over the island, and on landing we found 
them in great numbers and very tame. The frigate-birds, and 
boobies (sula), whose nests had before been observed on low bushes, 
were here found on the tops of trees fifty feet high. The noddies 
laid their eggs on the parts of the island destitute of vegetation. 
Tern were in great numbers ; their breeding-place was in a thicket 
on the weather side of the island, or that which was exposed to the 
wind and sea, and was remarkable from the regularity with which 
the eggs were placed, about three feet apart, without any nest, and 
with but few exceptions, out of many thousands, each egg lay 
separately. The colour of the eggs is a dirty white, mottled with 
brown. The noise made by these birds when disturbed was almost 
deafening ; but on making a loud sound, such as the firmer of a gam, 
their cries would cease for a moment or two, producing a singular 


Several small turtle, similar to those seen at Honden Island, were 
observed here. One of them was taken, but its flesh proved coarse, 
and was dryer than that of the green turtle : they feed upon a species 
of fucus that grows upon the reefs. Here we made observations for 
intensity and dip. 

On the 7th, we left Rose Island and stood to the westward, making 
at sunrise the island of Manna, which is two thousand five hundred 
feet above the level of the sea. It has the form of a regular dome, 
rising in most places precipitously from the water to the height of 
three or four hundred feet, after which its ascent appears more gentle 
and even. It is sixteen miles in circumference, is well covered with 
a luxuriant vegetation, and has many cocoa-nut groves on its north- 
west side. 

On approaching it, Oloosinga was in sight, and shortly after Ofoo. 
These two islands lie to the northwestward, at the distance of about 
four miles. 

The boats were lowered, and sent to trace the shores of the island 
of Manua, for the purpose of surveying it ; whilst the Vincennes and 
the Porpoise passed on each side. 

This island is inhabited. The principal settlement is on the 
northwest side, and there is anchorage for a small vessel near 
the shore, where there is a cove to land in, with but little surf 
during the fine season, or from April to November. It has a shore 
reef of coral, and the soundings extend off some distance, eight 
fathoms being found four hundred yards from the shore. 

Some large blocks of vesicular lava were seen on its northeast 
point, but the general structure was a conglomerate of a drab colour, 
in horizontal strata ; yet the beach was of light-coloured sand, formed 
by a mixture of coral and shells. 

Our arrival off Manila was opportune. According to the statement 
of one of the brothers of the king, who spoke a little English, hostili- 
ties had been threatened between the "missionary" party, and the 
"devil's men." A native missionary, resident in the island, had 
already prevented a battle, by telling them that if they wished to 
fight with each other they must first kill him. Through his 
influence, and exemplary conduct, peace had hitherto been preserved. 
It was stated that several "very bad" white men were on the island, 
and that they made "plenty of fight;" but that on seeing "man- 
nawa" (man-of-war), they had gone into the "bush." 

VOL. II. 18 

70 T U T U I L A. 

Eight of these men had deserted from an English whaler, whose 
boat they had stolen. Three of them came alongside of us next 
day, clad after the manner of the natives, and were very anxious to 
be taken off the island. 

The canoes of these islanders were the best we had seen. They 
are built of a log, having upon it pieces fastened together, to raise 
them sufficiently high. They are thirty or forty feet long, and are 
partly covered in at both ends. Some of them are capable of con- 
taming twenty or twenty-five men, and are very swift. The chief 
usually sits cross-legged on the forward platform or deck. They 
have an out-rigger which is not so far removed from the canoe, and 
renders them more liable to be upset. 

Several of the natives came on board. They were a finely-formed 
race, and appeared lively and well-disposed, though in a much 
wilder state than those of the Society Islands. 

Our party, on landing, were immediately surrounded with natives 
willing to trade, and calling out for "bacca," (tobacco,) which is in 
great request among them. Fish-hooks were also much sought for. 
A fowl, a bunch of bamboos, and a dozen of cocoa-nuts were pro- 
cured for a small one. 

They seemed willing to exchange any thing they had, viz., baskets, 
mats, spears, clubs, &c, to obtain these articles. They were not 
found altogether honest, though this did not consist in stealing, but in 
selling their articles twice over ; for after we had made a purchase 
from one, another would claim the article as belonging to himself, 
and insist on also receiving a price for it. 

Near the village are thick stone walls, intended to all appearances 
for defence. The houses are elliptical, supported on stout posts about 
four feet high, from which the roof or thatching rises to the height 
of twelve or fifteen feet; they are generally erected on a raised terrace 
of stone, two feet above the ground. The floors are covered with 
coarse matting. 

The king or chief of these islands, resides at Oloosinga, in conse- 
quence of its being more easily defended. 

The dress of the natives consists only of the maro, made of the 
leaves of the Dracaena, which has a graceful appearance. The leaves 
are slit, and form a kind of short petticoat. 

The tattooing is of the same kind, as will be described in the 
general account of the Samoan Islands. 


These islands furnish pigs, fowls, sweet-potatoes, fruit, and some 
taro. The vegetation was thought to he more luxuriant than at 
Tahiti, and the climate moister. 

Many running streams were observed coursing down the sides of 
the island. When off the eastern end, we were much surprised to 
see the natives plunge off the rocks into the heavy surf to reach our 

After our party reached the ship, we made sail for Oloosinga, 
where I went on shore to see the king or chief, who was old and 
decrepit. His name is Lalelah. His brother, and presumptive 
successor, was with him, and met me as I landed from the boat. His 
mode of salutation was by taking my hand and rubbing the back of 
it against his nose. 

The old man, I was told by the interpreter, could speak a little 
English, but I could not understand him. This he attributed to his 
age, and would not admit that it was owing to his ignorance of the 
language. They led the way to his hut, situated under a mural 
precipice about twelve hundred feet in height. 

The island of Oloosinga is a narrow ledge of rocks, rising nearly 
perpendicular on both sides, and is three miles in length. So preci- 
pitous is it at its ends, that it is impossible to pass around it on the 
rocks. The strip of land is about five hundred yards in width, on 
which bread-fruits and cocoa-nuts grow in great profusion and suffi- 
cient abundance for all the wants of the natives. They told me that 
this island had been chosen as a place of safety, since the other 
became unsettled in consequence of the wars of the Christian and 
Devil's parties ; and that the island of Manua had formerly been the 
residence of the king, but that he found himself unsafe there, and 
had taken up his abode at Oloosinga, on its northwestern side. 

His house was elliptical in form, and thirty feet long, erected on a 
well-flagged terrace of stone, about four feet above the ground. It 
was well shaded with cocoa-nut and bread-fruit trees, and was 
supported around by ten stout posts, with three others in the centre 
reaching the top. The roof came down within three and a half feet 
of the ground, and projected as eaves about eighteen inches or two 
feet. In the centre the hut was fifteen feet high and well thatched. 

The whole floor was ordered to be spread with fine mats, which 
were carefully unrolled, and laid over the coarser ones on the floor. 
The king then seated himself in the centre, and desired me to take a 
seat between himself and brother. Shortly afterwards two large 


wooden trays were brought in, filled with cooked bread-fruit and 
covered over with leaves. One of these was placed before me, when 
the king made a long speech, giving me welcome and offering food to 
eat. I was then desired to hand some to the king and his brother, and 
to others who were pointed out to me. This I did, but unfortunately 
continued my task, and handed it to one of the Kanakas, or common 
people, who were sitting close around us ; much displeasure was 
evinced, accompanied with angry looks. I now looked around for 
my men, but they were out of sight on their return to the boat. In 
order to make the best of my situation, I asked what was meant, and 
feigned to be quite ignorant of having given any offence. After a 
minute they were apparently appeased, and pleasant looks were 

They handed round a shell containing cocoa-nut oil to dip the 
bread-fruit in, and another containing salt water. After we had 
eaten, they began a careful examination of my clothes, and appeared 
much pleased with the buttons. My pocket-handkerchief was taken 
out of my pocket, and spread on the mat to be examined by the king. 
His brother took off my hat, and put it on the top of his large bushy 
head. They then had ava made, of which I could not partake, after 
seeing the process of making it. It is first chewed by the women 
and thrown into a large bowl ; water is added to it, and it is then 
strained through leaves. This was partaken of by them all, while 
they gave me a fresh cocoa-nut. 

They were becoming more familiar every moment, and it was 
getting late, so I thought it time to make a move. I therefore rose 
up, and was followed by the natives, in number upwards of a hun- 
dred, including the king and his brother, to the boat. I looked 
carefully around for arms, but saw none among them. My boat was 
aground : the king, his brother, and several others, got into it, saying 
they must have some presents. They seemed disposed to resist, and 
showed a determination to contest our getting off. I on the other 
hand was determined to get rid of them, and peaceably if I could ; I 
therefore ordered the boat's crew to arm themselves, and drive every 
one of the natives from the boat, at the same time intimating to the 
king to use his authority, which I found, however, existed only in 
name. We thus succeeded in getting clear of the crowd, until we 
had no more than eight left; to each of these I presented a small fish- 
hook, and ordered them to get into the water, which was about a foot 
deep, and go ; this they did, one by one. At last came the king and 

T U T U 1 L A. 73 

his brother's turn, to whom I presented, with great ceremony, first a 
small and then a large fish-hook ; after which they left me, appa- 
rently in great good humour. I was heartily glad to be rid of such 
rapacious troublesome fellows so easily, and without a fight. We 
then pushed our boat off. When just beyond the reef, in taking up 
our anchor, the boat had the appearance of returning again on shore. 
On seeing this, a great shout was set up by the natives, and one of 
them immediately advanced with my powder-flask. He said it had 
been taken by a boy out of the boat, and had been dropped into the 
water, to be picked up after we had shoved off. I gave the man a 
small present for his apparent honesty ; but I am inclined to believe 
it was the fear of detection, and the belief that we had missed the 
article, and were returning for it, that induced them to give it up so 
willingly. It was some time before he could be made to understand 
what the reward was for, but when he found it was for his honesty, 
he laughed heartily. 

This having excited our suspicions, the boat's crew informed me 
that a canoe that was paddling off had been alongside the gig, and 
that they felt satisfied that the natives had taken something from us. 
It being in our course towards the ship, we gave chase, and being 
favoured by the wind, soon overtook the canoe, to the great fright of 
the two natives, who were paddling with all their might, and whose 
eyes were full of tears when overtaken. They had nothing at all in 
their canoe, and after examination it proved we had lost nothing. To 
console them for this alarm, I gave them a few trifles, and they 
became easy and cheerful. 

The coral reef around this island was different from any I had 
hitherto seen. It consisted of two regular shelves, the outer one from 
fifty to sixty feet wide, and the inner in places measuring one hundred 
and forty feet. A distinct mark of high water was measured along 
the beach, and found to be twenty feet above the ordinary sea-tide, 
which has from four to five feet rise. 

The rock at Manua was volcanic conglomerate, with large blocks 
of vesicular lava lying loose on the coral beach. 

Before sunset the boats returned to the ship, having completed the 
survey of both islands. 

Ofoo lies to the westward of Oloosinga. There is a passage for 
boats of about a fourth of a mile in width between them, and 
anchorage on the western side. Ofoo resembles Oloosinga, and from 
the accounts we received, it has but few inhabitants ; those of 

VOL. II. 19 

74 T U T U I L A. 

Oloosinga having made war upon them, and killed the natives off. 
There is a small and comparatively low islet off its western end, near 
which there is an anchorage. After sunset we bore away for Ttituila, 
which can be seen in fine weather from these islands. 

The temperature in the passage from Tahiti to the Samoan Islands 
had increased from 77-6° to 81-11° in the air ; and that of the water 
from 796° to 81-6°. 

As it was my intention to make a thorough examination of this 
group, I resolved, in order to accomplish it in the least possible time, 
to divide the squadron, so as to put all the remaining islands under 
examination at the same time. The island of Tutuila being the most 
central, and from the information I had obtained, the best position for 
my astronomical observations, I selected it for the Vincennes. That 
of Upolu was reserved for the Peacock and Flying-Fish when they 
should arrive ; and in case of their being detained longer than I anti- 
cipated, I should be ready to take up the survey of the latter, or assist 
in completing it. The Porpoise was ordered to examine the island 
of Savaii ; and one of the naturalists, Dr. Pickering, was directed to 
join her, for the purpose of exploring the interior of the island during 
her operations in its vicinity. Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold 
was therefore directed to land him for the purpose, and take him on 
board when the survey should be concluded.* 

On the 10th of October, we had light winds, in consequence of 
which we did not reach Tutuila that day. At daylight on the 11th 
Ave were near its eastern end, and off the island of Anuu. 

About eight miles to windward of the harbour of Pago-pago, we 
were boarded by several canoes, in which were some natives, with a 
Avhite man by name William Gray, whom I retained as interpreter 
during our stay here, and found of much use. 

The island of Tutuila is high, broken, and of volcanic appearance. 
It is seventeen miles long, and its greatest width is five miles. The 
harbour of Pago-pago penetrates into the centre, and almost divides 
the island into two parts. It is less varied in surface than the Society 
Islands ; and its highest peak, that of Matafoa, was found to be two 
thousand three hundred and twenty-seven feet above the sea. The 
spurs and ridges that form the high land are like those of Tahiti : 
precipitous, sharp-edged, and frequently rise in mural walls from the 
water to a height of three or four hundred feet, showing the bare 

* For orders, see Appendix V. 

T U T U I L A. 


basaltic rock. Above this height, the surface is covered with a 
luxuriant vegetation to the very top of the mountains ; the cocoa-nut 
tree and tree-fern give the principal character to this beautiful 
scenery. Dead coral is seen along the shores, above high water 

The harbour of Pago-pago is one of the most singular in all the 
Polynesian isles. It is the last point on which one would look for a 
place of shelter : the coast near it is peculiarly rugged, and has no 
appearance of indentations, and the entrance being narrow, is not 
easily observed. Its shape has been compared to a variety of 
articles; that which it most nearly resembles is a retort; it is sur- 
rounded on all sides by inaccessible mural precipices, from eight 
hundred to one thousand feet in height. The lower parts of these 
rocks are bare, but they are clothed above with luxuriant vegetation. 
So impassable did the rocky barrier appear in all but two places, that 
the harbour was likened to the valley of Rasselas changed into a 
lake. The two breaks in the precipice are at the head of the harbour 
and at the Pilot's Cove. The harbour is of easy access, and its 
entrance, which is about a third of a mile in width, is well marked 
by the Tower Rock and Devil's Point. 

About three miles to the southward, off the mouth of the harbour, 
there is a coral bank half a mile long, on which the sea breaks in 


stormy weather ; the least depth of water found on it was four and 
a half fathoms : the depth increases to the eastward, towards the island 
of Anuu. 

As we arrived off the harbour the -wind grew light, and finally 
came out ahead, thus compelling us to beat in to our anchorage, 
under the direction of Edmund Foxall, a white pilot. He usually 
comes off to vessels when within two or three miles of the harbour, on 
a signal being made. We made many tacks before we reached our 
anchorage, which was in deep water, twenty-nine fathoms. About 
half a mile from the entrance of the harbour, it bends at right angles. 
In this position, surrounded by cliffs, the firing of a gun produces a 
remarkable reverberation, resembling loud peals of thunder. 

We were surrounded as soon as we entered, by a large number of 
canoes, filled with natives, who all seemed delighted with the ship 
and the number of men on board. When we had moored, one of 
the principal chiefs, whose name was Toa, was admitted on board ; 
he was an athletic, muscular man, of large frame, about forty 
years of age, with a pleasant expression of countenance; he mani- 
fested great pleasure in welcoming us. He began by telling me, 
through the interpreter, that he was a missionary; that he had 
formerly been a great thief, and a doer of many bad acts, but being 
now a missionary, he was reformed and stole no more. He told this 
with such an open expression of countenance and so much simplicity, 
that I could scarcely forbear smiling. After I had finished asking him 
questions, he continued eyeing me from head to foot, as if deter- 
mining my dimensions. I told the interpreter to ask him why he 
looked at me so intently. He replied, that he had a coat on shore that 
was too tight for him about the arms and chest, and he believed it 
would fit me : if so, he should be glad to exchange it for the jacket 
I had on. Not being inclined to this exchange, I ordered a small 
hatchet to be given him. This gratified him much, and he instantly 
went over the ship's side to show it to his friends. This same Toa is 
chief of the village of Fungasar, about three miles distant from the 
harbour, on the north side of the island. He learns to read and write, 
beino; taught bv some of the small children, and attends school regru- 
larly. He became of great use to us, and was a constant visiter. 
During one of his visits on board, he espied some red umbrellas 
among the presents, and from that time was continually endeavouring 
to obtain one for his wife, and brought many articles in the hope of 
inducing us to part with it in exchange for them. 

The day after our arrival a place was chosen for our observatory, 


and the tents and instruments were landed. Understanding that I 
wanted to see the sun and stars, I was told by Mr. Murray, the white 
residents, and natives, that I should have little weather for observa- 
tions for the next fortnight, which proved literally true, with the 
exception of the last two days. 

The oreolooncal character of this island is similar to that of Manua ; 
it has only a shore reef of coral, and soundings extend some distance 
from it. It has many desirable ports or bays on its north side, where 
vessels may obtain wood, water, and supplies. The best and safest 
port, however, is that of Pago-pago, on its south side, which affords a 
safe harbour for vessels to overhaul, and where supplies may be 
obtained in abundance. 

Pago-pago is thickly settled round its shores, and particularly at its 
southwestern end : this is lower and more easily cultivated than 
the eastern, which is high and rugged. The only communication is 
by the sea-shore, the hills being too precipitous and difficult of ascent, 
to pass over. 

The men of Tutuila are a remarkably tall fine-looking set, with 
intelligent and pleasing countenances. In comparison with the 
Tahitians, they would be called sedate. 

The women are far from being good-looking, with the exception 
of some of the younger ones. They are remarkably domestic and 
virtuous, exhibiting a strange contrast to those of Tahiti. Here there 
is no indiscriminate intercourse, the marriage tie is respected, and 
parents are extremely fond of their offspring. The inhabitants are 
disposed to be hospitable to strangers, although they expect re- 
muneration for it. Travelling is generally believed to be safe 
throughout the island of Tutuila, and the natives, as far as our 
experience goes, are not the blood-thirsty race they have been re- 
ported to be. The unfavourable estimate of their character has, I 
presume, been derived from those who first knew them, and particu- 
larly from their attack upon the expedition of La Perouse. Of 
this conflict I obtained the following particulars from the Rev. Mr. 
Murray, who had them from an old man, who was a witness of the 
affray. The latter is the only individual now alive in the settlement 
who was present when it occurred, and his testimony was corrobo- 
rated by others who had heard of it from those who witnessed the 

On the morning of the massacre, the vessels stood in towards the 
land. About noon the boats went ashore, as recorded by La Perouse, 

vol. ii. 20 


and while on shore, a number of canoes belonging to the island of 
Upolu (to which Tutuila was at the time subject), went from the shore, 
and proceeded directly to the vessels. When these canoes were 
alongside, a young man in one of them laid his hand on an iron bolt 
in some part of the ships, with the intention, it is supposed, of stealing 
it. He was fired upon by the French. The ball passed through his 
shoulders, and mortally wounded him. The natives, on seeing the 
effect of the shot on one of their number, were greatly enraged, and 
immediately left the vessels, and hastened to the shore, where they 
found the boats that had gone to get water. On reaching them, they 
began the attack, which resulted in the massacre of M. De Langle, 
and of those who were with him on shore. When the natives began 
this attack, the great body of the French were absent from their 
boats ; some were in the bushes gathering plants, and others talking 
to the females. On the commencement of the disturbance, they all 
rushed towards their boats, and the confusion became general. 
The minute circumstances of the affray, farther than the above, 
cannot now be ascertained from the natives. They are, however, 
very clear in reference to the cause, and to those who were the actors 
in it, viz., the natives of Upolu. The Tutuilians maintain that they 
endeavoured to save the lives of the French, and on the following 
day, as soon as they dared to venture from the mountains, whither 
they had fled during the massacre, they collected the bodies, which 
they found in a state of nudity, dressed them in native cloth, and 
buried them in the beach, as they were accustomed to bury their own 
chiefs. The actors in the massacre proceeded at once to Upolu, 
which will account for their having been afterwards seen there, and 
recognised by the French. Our inquiries relative to the spot where 
they had buried the bodies, were not satisfactorily answered. How 
the carpenter's son escaped is not known. He is said to be still 
living at a village on the eastern part of the island. There appears 
to be mention made of a boy among the missing, in La Perouse's 
account. Levasii, a chief of the district of Faleletai, was at the 
massacre of the party of La Perouse. He was then a boy of thirteen 
years of age. He remembered the occurrence, and that three of the 
Papalangi were killed. 

The perpetrators of the deed were some young chiefs from the 
district, who were on a " Malanga" to Tutuila, At that time Aana 
district had the rule, or. was the " Malo" party, and domineered over 
the inhabitants of the other islands and districts. 


The village of Pago-pago contains about thirty dwellings, and a 
council-house, which is in use as a church, until the large one 
they are engaged in building shall be finished. Every village 
has a council-house for the entertainment of visiters, and the accom- 
modation of meetings. 

This island is under several chiefs, each of whom rules over a 
town, district, or bay. The present chief of Pago-pago is Mowna, 
the adopted son of the last chief, Pomale, who died not long since, 
leaving an only son, also called Pomale, who from his great modesty 
lost his inheritance. Mowna was more crafty than Pomale, and 
understood well his rival's character. After the death of the old 
chief, these two yoimg men, about the same age, became candidates 
for the succession. Mowna, through his intrigues, succeeded in 
getting the whole family together to decide between them. Both 
Mowna and Pomale were present, the former appearing dejected, 
silent, and willing to leave the decision to the meeting; whilst 
Pomale, when asked who should be chief, said with his usual 
modesty that he was in favour of Mowna, who was accordingly made 
chief. Mowna, however, is now so in name only, for Pomale rules 
in fact. This arises from his good character, and the influence he 
derives from the missionaries, of whom he is one of the most active 
and pious supporters, and withal a great preacher. So great is the 
confidence Mr. Mtirray has in Pomale, that he is frequently left to 
take charge of the congregation, during the absence of Mr. Murray 
in another part of the island. 

The greatest restraint on the conduct of the chiefs, appears to be 
the fear of losing the good name of their ancestors, and of not 
handing it down to posterity pure and unspotted. This feeling seems 
to govern their conduct, and from the information I received, may be 
made use of as an appeal to them, to avoid doing evil, and to do 

The missionary, the Rev. Mr. Murray, deserves the greatest credit 
for this state of things. He has unbounded influence over the natives, 
and deserves it. The ten commandments are the common law of the 
island, wherever Christianity has taken root, and any infringement of 
them is surely punished ; the guilty persons being put out of the 
church, and denied the privilege of attending worship. They are 
looked upon as having fallen, and are consequently avoided. This 
fear of public opinion, I was informed, was found to be sufficient to 
deter them from the commission of crimes and immoral practices. 


The tapa or rugs worn by distinguished chiefs, were preserved, 
and were formerly much venerated by them. Since the introduction 
of Christianity, however, such has been its influence that they will 
now readily part with any thing of the kind. Pomale was induced 
to let us have those in his possession, and also exchanged the " war 
spirit" mat for a small present for his wife. 

On the 17th, our friend Toa gave us an invitation to visit him at 
his town of Fungasar, on the north side of the island. It is situated 
on the next bay to that now called Massacre Bay, where De L angle 
was killed. The path across the island is a very difficult one to 
travel ; it leads up through the valley, and across the dividing ridge, 
which is quite precipitous. The rain which had fallen made it very 
slippery, and the journey was fatiguing to those not accustomed to 
this kind of walking. 

I was much struck here with the manliness and intelligence of the 
natives, with a frank open expression of countenance. The colour 
of their complexion is rather darker than that of the natives of Tahiti. 
The outlines of face and figure are very like those we had left, their 
hair and eyes black, and their teeth good and white. Some of them 
had frizzled hair, but it was generally straight. 

Just before arriving at the village, we were met by Toa, and some 
of his relations and attendants, who welcomed us to his village, 
saluting me by rubbing his nose with my hand ; this is the usual 

He ordered a pig, taro, bread-fruit, &c, &c, for our entertainment. 
These were cooked in the universal Polynesian mode, by being 
covered up in a hole with hot stones. We were soon told that the 
feast was ready, but having had some experience of their cooking, 
we desired it might remain in the oven a little while longer. Their 
usual custom is to take it out the moment that the taro is cooked, and 
from daily practice they are well acquainted with the time required to 
cook it. This is scarcely sufficient to give the pig time to be warmed 
through. Our request prevailed, and in the course of half an hour we 
were summoned to the council-house or fale tele, where strangers are 
always entertained. We were shown our seats on one side of a 
circle, while Toa, with his famdy and friends, occupied the other. 
The mats, except one, were not very clean. The pig, which must 
have weighed one hundred pounds, was brought in, and laid with 
the taro and bread-fruit on banana-leaves. A butcher's knife was all 
that we possessed to carve it with. The whole village, old and 


young, men, women, and children, who were waiting in anxious 
expectation for their share, now surrounded us, and made it uncom- 
fortable to eat, with so many hungry expectants; I made haste, 
therefore, to divide it, and with it they soon dispersed. The taro 
was exceedingly well cooked, dry, and farinaceous. The bread-fruit 
they said was too young, and not being considered good by them, 
they objected to giving us any of it, but did not hesitate to eat it 
themselves. A pig is a great treat to them, for although they have 
plenty, they prefer selling to eating them. 

All kinds of provisions in these islands are enhancing in value, 
and will continue to do so. It is remarkable how the prices fluctuate. 
On some days provisions of all kinds will be exceedingly cheap, and 
almost any article will be taken in exchange ; and then again nothing 
can be found to please the natives, or induce them to trade, although 
the quantity for sale is equally as great. It was not a little amusing 
to see the natives sitting whole days to obtain the price of their 
fowl or pig, and persisting in their refusal of the offer made : and this 
was sometimes done by a large number at the same time, all remain- 
ing true to each other until their poe or food became exhausted, 
when they would take the earliest opportunity of disposing of their 
different parcels. 

In the grove near the village we saw several piles of stones. I 
was told they were the graves in which they formerly buried the 
dead, just below the surface. On the top were placed stones, forming 
a high pile. Now they bury their dead in graves about three feet 
deep, and enclose them with the Dracaena, which grows rapidly, and 
forms a pretty and neat trellis. 

Toa became quite communicative, and as he showed me about his 
village, he told me, through the interpreter, that before the mis- 
sionaries came, the chiefs all had their " Aitu" or spirits, which they 
worshipped, and that they felt themselves obliged to do every thing 
they commanded. His Aitu were fresh-water eels, which he con- 
stantly fed in the brook near the village. I visited it, and requested 
him to catch one, which he attempted to do ; but after a long search, 
turning over large stones, and examining holes, he was unsuccessful. 
He said there were many in it formerly, and quite tame ; but since 
he had embraced Christianity, they had all been caught and destroyed ; 
on farther questioning him, he told me that he had himself eaten them ; 
that formerly if any one had touched, disturbed, or attempted to catch 
one, he should have killed him immediately. He said his eels were 

VOL. II. 21 


T U T U I L A. 

very good to eat, and was sorry he could not find any more, and 
laughed very heartily when I spoke to him about eating his Aitu. I 
mention this circumstance to show the powerful effect the Christian 
religion has had upon the ancient customs of this people. 

After much persuasion, they were induced to sing some of their old 
war-songs. Mr. Drayton wrote one down as a specimen of their 
music ; the words were written by one of the interpreters. 


, N | 

±>U m 

a * 

- 1 


• 1 

1 ft * 

r i 


I 9 • 

1 1 1 1 

1 ' 

; C5 1 




E - 


** i 

si - a 

* i i 

Sa - moa a pa - 

1 fe 


nou nou 

Fo - 


1 IS~I 



' IS 

J 1 1 

1 m t 





w d m 

' r 




1 i i i 

faa ■ fi tui 

- le 

a - la a - la po - po - 



ar - h - 

ti a 


r « I 


IS 1 S 


- - 

r r r -1 

' • 1 

p- • 

m ' r 



1 i i 




1 • 

* i 1 



fi na - mo 

- to 



vau fa 

lau - - 








To the above they sing a kind of second with very correct har- 
mony. They do not seem to have any particular air among them, 
and in singing the above, they did not sound the same notes every 
time. All their music sounds alike, and the above will give a good 
idea of it. A translation of the song was made by the same inter- 
preter, and is as follows. 

A chief of Samoa attacks an enemy on another island and con- 
quers. After the victors have embarked safely for their island, they 

sing as follows 

" Keep her away, and mind the helm." 

And when they get home the people sing, — 

" We are glad 3'ou have come to your island of plenty, 
We have waited a long time for our chief and canoes." 

Toa, after his unsuccessful search for his favourite eels, went 
into the brook for a bath, which he told me he very frequently did 
during the day ; and it Avas delightful to see the pleasure he took in 
it. The natives, indeed, are almost constantly in the water, and, 
consequently, very cleanly in their persons. Finding that it occu- 


pied too much of their thoughts on the Sabbath, bathing on that day- 
has been forbidden. 

This village contained about forty houses, of a large and commo- 
dious size, and about two hundred inhabitants, a number of whom 
were absent on a visit to Upolu. 

Towards evening, we took our leave of Toa, thanking him warmly 
for his kindness ; we were escorted to the outside of the village by 
his friends and relations, whilst Toa himself accompanied us to 

The natives have no fixed time for meals, eating whenever they 
feel hungry. Their food consists of pork, fish, bread-fruit, cocoa- 
nuts, bananas, &c, but principally of taro. All of these are produced 
in abundance. Water is their common drink, and, notwithstanding 
cocoa-nuts are so abundant, the milk is seldom used : the trouble of 
procuring them is too much for them. They use ava made from the 
Piper mythisticum, and it is the only intoxicating drink they have.* 
It is never used to excess, although old and young, male and female, 
are very fond of it. The taste, to one unaccustomed to it, is not 
pleasant, being somewhat similar to that of rhubarb and magnesia. 
Their mode of preparing it is the same as has already been described. 

They sleep on the large coarse mats with which they always cover 
the floors of their houses. Over these they spread coloured tapas, 
some of which are also used for nets of protection against the nume- 
rous musquitoes. For a pillow they use a piece of bamboo supported 
on small legs. Their hair is frequently shorn close, and coral, lime, 
or ashes sprinkled over it to destroy the vermin which are generated 
in great numbers in their tapas and mats. 

According to old Toa, a native is in a comfortable condition 
when he has a good house ; a well-made visiting canoe ; a neat, 
handy, large and well-formed woman for a wife ; a taro patch with 
a good fence; cocoa-nut, and bread-fruit trees, with a reasonable 
number of pigs. 

The women are now admitted to the same privileges as the men. 
The chiefs have still great power over the people, although the 
influence of the missionaries has tended greatly to diminish it. 
Most of the people look back to the days when polygamy existed 

* The ava does not, according to the whites, intoxicate in the same manner as ardent 
spirits, but produces a temporary paralysis, tremors, and a confused feeling about the 
head ; indistinctness and distortion of vision, somewhat resembling the effect of opium. 

84 T U T U I L A. 

with regret, and cannot understand why they are restricted to one 
wife. They say, " Why should God be so unreasonable as to require 
them to give up all their wives but one for his convenience?" They 
pay just attention to their religious duties; morning and evening 
prayers are always said, as is grace before their meals, and with a 
devotion rarely to be seen among civilized men. 

Their amusements seem to be few ; their books are constantly 
before them, and a great portion of their time is employed over them. 
Old gray-headed men may be seen poring over the alphabet, and 
taught by some of the youngest of the family. The employment of 
the men is to cultivate and weed the taro, and to take care of the 
fences ; they also make sinnet for their houses and canoes for fishing. 
The women are engaged in making mats, and the boys and girls 
play, and wait upon their seniors. 

Next to study, fishing is their great employment. This is per- 
formed by driving the fish towards the nets in shoal water, where 
they are easily caught. The cast-net is also used. 

The only amusement we saw, is a game called lafo-tupe, which 
is played with cocoa-nut shells, and resembles shuffle-board. 

Mr. Murray is an amiable as well as a truly pious man, and the 
natives have imitated the example set by him. He studiously avoids 
any intercourse with them in the way of trade or barter, except so 
much as is necessary for the provision of his own family, and devotes 
his whole time to preaching and teaching the gospel. He is one of 
the missionaries engaged in translating the Bible, many parts of 
which are now completed, and extensively used by the natives, many 
of whom read and write well. 

Their observance of the Sabbath is very strict; and it is impossible 
to get a native to do any thing whatsoever on that day, but perform 
his religious duties. They attend church regularly. In Mr. Mur- 
ray's congregation there are about thirty communicants, and nearly 
one thousand attendants on public worship. They come from many 
of the surrounding villages. Mr. Murray has been here about three 
years, and the native preachers nine or ten : he is well acquainted 
with the difficulties of his station, but seemed to feel assured that his 
exertions were about being crowned with success. He represented to 
me, that the natives were very tractable, and desired exceedingly to 
be taught; that they had much application, seemed to comprehend 
many things, and were certainly not surpassed in intelligence by any 
of the natives of Polynesia. 

T U T U I L A. 85 

Polygamy, which formerly was practised to a great extent, still 
exists among those who have not been converted. 

Circumcision is practised among them. 

They carry their children in the same singular manner on the hip, 
as was shown in wood-cut of the low archipelago. They are early 
betrothed, without regard to age, the girl being saa, or tabooed, until 
of marriageable age. During the intervening time, all kinds of native 
property are accumulated, such as mats, &c, for the bridal day. 
Two days previous to it, the inhabitants of the district are gathered 
together for feasting and dancing. On the third day, the bride is 
produced before the assembled multitude, and the ceremony attendant 
on marriage that was customary among the Jews performed. After 
the marriage had been consummated, the dowry was exhibited, and 
each article being held up, it was proclaimed by whom it was 
presented ; the multitude, having consumed all the eatables, and ex- 
hausted their strength in rioting and debauchery, dispersed. 

Infanticide has never been practised on this island. 

I have seldom seen a more devout or attentive collection of people 
than I observed at times in the church meeting, which was held in 
the council-house at Pago-pago; the new church was undergoing 
alterations; for on its being completed, it was found it would not 
accommodate the congregation, when they determined to enlarge it. 

Upon the conclusion of a long service, they were observed to divide 
themselves into three parties; one remaining in the church, and 
the other two repairing to different buildings. The object of this 
was, that they might listen to instructions from their native teachers 
explanatory of the sermon, and also receive exhortations to put away 
all that is unbecoming to the Christian character. The afternoon is 
employed in further explanations and examinations by the missiona- 
ries. The native missionaries have also meetings on Fridays. 

Their mode of singing hymns is peculiar, the whole mass joining 
in some parts, with all the lungs they could muster. This exercise 
appeared to afford them great delight. The congregation were 
mostly dressed in tapas, or clothed in one sort of garment or other ; 
but the person who attracted our attention most, was the consort of 
Pomale. From being the wife of the most influential personage, she 
had received more presents from us than any other ; and she 
endeavoured, on this occasion, to display on her person the greater 
part, if not all, that she had thus acquired. These consisted of a red 
calico gown, four or five petticoats of different colours, woollen socks, 

vol. ii. 22 


green slippers, cap and bonnet, a large plaid blanket shawl, and a 
pair of polar gloves, the whole surmounted by a flaming red silk 
umbrella — and this with the thermometer at 87° ! It was difficult to 
keep our eyes off her during the service, and before the end of it, 
all her finery became awry. The other natives also seemed to have 
the desire of exhibiting their acquisitions, though these consisted fre- 
quently of no more than a vest, or a pair of pantaloons, without shirt, 
or occasionally of a long-skirted coat, without either of the former 
garments, so that a small roll of tapa was needed to cover their nether 

Some unauthorized attempts were made to induce the natives to 
break the missionary laws, by offers of great value in their eyes; 
they were told the missionaries would not see them. On under- 
standing which, they pointed to the heavens, and replied, " There 
missionary see." This was conclusive, and a just and severe rebuke. 

The Peacock and Flying-Fish again joined us on the 18th of 
October, in eight days from Papieti. Orders were at once given them 
to proceed to Upolu, to commence the survey of that island. (See Ap- 
pendix VI.) They did not sail, however, until the 20th, having been 
detained by the winds. The harbour of Pago-pago, though easy of 
access, is extremely difficult to leave, in consequence of the southeast 
trade winds blowing directly in, and rendering it necessary to make 
short tacks. Indeed, a vessel no sooner gets headway on one tack, 
than it is found necessary to tack again. The sea is often heavy at the 
mouth of the harbour, and the shore is lined with a narrow coral reef 
all around it. I was glad to see the Peacock safe outside, after 
beating about four hours. 

During our stay on this island, the whole w r as examined, the 
harbour surveyed, and the principal heights determined. Tide- 
gauges were kept on the north and south sides, and the observations 
for magnetic dip, variation, and intensity, made. The temperature 
during our stay of fourteen days varied from 73° to 88° ; the mean 
temperature was 80-50°. 

The climate of Tutuila is mild and agreeable, particularly at Pago- 
pago, where the temperature is lower than it is elsewhere on the 
island, in consequence of its generally being overshadowed with 
clouds that hang on the high land. There is usually a fine breeze, 
which sets in about ten o'clock, and continues until sunset. The 
nights being calm, much dew falls in fine weather. We had little 
fair weather during our stay, and the prognostication of the natives 

T U T D I L A. 87 

proved too true, respecting the difficulty of seeing the sun and stars. 
The wind at times was very strong, almost a gale, accompanied by 
light rain and mist. I was informed that there is a good deal of 
rain during the year, but seldom such a continuance of it as we 
experienced. There does not appear to be any particular rainy 
season, but they are liable to these high winds during the winter 
months, or from October to March.* I obtained from the pilot a 
register of the weather from January 1839, till October of the same 
year, which will show more clearly the state of the climate. (This 
will be found in Appendix VII.) 

In our explorations, nearly all the villages of this island were 
visited by some of the officers of the squadron, and from their report 
they much resemble each other. Those of Fagaitua and Leone, on 
the southern coast, are the largest, and are more of the Devil's towns 
than the others. One of their customs is truly savage. They 
seldom use pork as a food, consequently it is a great rarity with 
them ; but at intervals of several months the villagers assemble at a 
feast, at which thirty or forty hogs are killed, when they gormandize 
on them for four or five days, or as long as the food lasts. The 
whole is eaten, entrails and all. Fish and taro are the principal food, 
and large numbers of the natives may be seen fishing off the coast in 
fine weather. The kind of fish usually caught are mullet. 

There is a large kind of worm which they esteem a great delicacy, 
and which is eaten with much relish. It is impossible to see them 
sucking down the entrails of the Biche de Mar, Holithuria, and 
E china, without disgust. They also eat many of the shell-fish that 
are found on the shore. 

The temperature found on the top of Matafoa, at the altitude of 
two thousand three hundred and fifty -nine feet, was at 4 p. M., 69-4°, 
whilst that on board the ship was 79-5°. 

We made an endeavour here to search the reefs at night for shells, 
with flambeaux or torchlight, after the manner of the Chain Islanders, 
by which means it is said that many species of shells are taken, which 
are never seen by daylight. We cannot vouch for this being the case, 
our experiment not having succeeded. The leaves of the cocoa-nut 
were either too green or too wet to burn. If success really attends 
this method, it is a singular trait in the economy of mollusca, which 
are generally supposed to be partial to daylight. It was my deter- 

* During eleven days of our stay, the quantity of rain that fell was 4 T 6 6 inches. 



mination to make another trial, under more favourable circumstances ; 
but from our constant occupation and fatigue of the crew in the day- 
time, we were unable to renew the experiment. 

A few days before leaving Pago-pago, Mr. Murray brought to my 
notice the account of a murder that was supposed to have been com- 
mitted on a foreigner at the west end of the island, for the sake of the 
little property he had about him. The report, however, appeared to 
me to be too vague to authorize any delay for the purpose of making 
an examination into it; and finding the man was reported to be a 
runaway convict, I had no right to interfere in the affair, and there- 
fore, took no steps to inquire into it. 

On the 7th of November, 1837, this harbour exhibited one of those 
remarkable phenomena of the oscillation of the tidal wave. The 
observations made on it are extracted from the letter of a missionary 
resident at Pago-pago, to the Rev. Mr. Mills, of Upolu, who obli- 
gingly gave me permission to copy them. (They will be found in 
Appendix VIII.) 

The weather during the preceding evening was boisterous, with 
frequent scpialls from the east, which continued till 7 a. m., from 
which time the day was cloudy, with frequent light showers. After 
5 p. m., it continued to rain until ten o'clock at night. On the 8th, 
the tide continued to ebb and flow in an irregular manner. The day 
was fine and very warm. This phenomenon does not appear to have 
been observed at any other place in the Samoan Group, but was 
experienced, as will be noticed hereafter, at the Group Hawaii. 

The peculiar formation of the harbour of Pago-pago, would make it 
more likely to be observed there than elsewhere. The ordinary rise 
of the tide is no more than four and a half feet, and neither before, 
during the continuance, nor after this phenomenon, were any shocks 
of earthquakes observed in any part of the group where missionaries 
are settled. 








. ■ 


UPOLU — MANONO — S A V A 1 1. 

The surveys of the island of Tutuila having been completed by 
the 23d November, we made preparations for our departure, and on 
the 25th we weighed anchor. In leaving the harbour we had a 
narrow escape from wreck; the almost constant southeast wind, 
which is fair to a vessel entering the bay, and makes it easy of 
access, is ahead on going out, which renders egress difficult; it 
therefore becomes necessary to make frequent tacks, and a vessel 
must be well manoeuvred to escape accident, for to miss stays would 
be almost certain to bring about shipwreck. When we beat out, 
the wind was light, and it failed altogether just as we reached the 
most dangerous part of the channel ; we were in consequence brought 
within an oar's length of the reef, on which a heavy surf was break- 
ing. The moment was a trying one, and the event doubtful; all 
were at their stations, and not a word was spoken. Of my own 
feelings on the occasion I have no very precise recollection ; merely 
remembering that I felt as if I breathed more freely after the crisis 
had passed and we were in safety. 

The afternoon was fine, and we sailed along the southern shore of 
the island, admiring its diversified surface, its luxuriant groves, and 
the smiling villages that crown its bays. Where the valleys come 
out from between the ridges to the shore, there is usually a level 
plain extending inwards for a couple of miles ; these plains are occu- 
pied for the most part by groves of cocoa-nut and bread-fruit, beneath 
whose shade lie the dwellings of the natives. Many of the inhabitants 
were abroad in their canoes, employed in fishing; some of them 
scarcely seemed to notice the ship, passing them rapidly with all sail 


set, while others appeared to regard her with intense curiosity. In 
the evening we had much lightning, but no thunder. 

The distance between Tutuila and Upolu, of thirty-six miles, was 
soon passed, and in the morning we were delighted with the view 
of the latter island as we ran down its coast to the westward. It 
appears much richer and more fruitful than the other islands of 
this group, and may be described as of moderate height, rising 
gradually in a succession of ridges from a low shore; here and 
there, broad and fertile valleys are seen, with numerous streams 
falling from the mountains in cascades. The eastern portion of 
the island is much more rugged than the western ; the main ridge 
runs east and west, and ridges or spurs run back to it from the 
northern coast in a southeast direction. Between these lateral ridges 
are broad and fertile valleys, decreasing in width as they recede 
from the coast. The shore is lined with a coral reef, which is now 
and then interrupted by channels, and forms snug and convenient 

At noon we descried the Peacock lying in the harbour of Apia, 
and shortly afterwards I received a message from Captain Hudson, 
saying that my presence was required on shore. In the hope that it 
was not a business of such a nature as to cause detention, I left the 
Vincennes in the offing, while I went ashore in my boat. On 
reaching the land, I found the chiefs ens-aged in the trial of a native 
called Tuvai, who had killed an American named Edward Cave- 
naugh, a native of New Bedford. 

It appeared that on Captain Hudson's arrival the murderer was 
pointed out to him in the village, upon which he very properly deter- 
mined to have the offender punished, and gave orders to have him 
arrested. He was in consequence seized in a house near the water, 
and carried on board the Peacock. Being taken by surprise, he 
offered no resistance to his capture. Captain Hudson then requested 
a conference with the neighbouring chiefs, who in consequence had 
assembled on the 27th. 

The fono, as such assemblies are called, was held in the council- 
house, or fale-tele, where the chiefs were collected. The Rev. Mr 
Mills acted as interpreter on the occasion. Captain Hudson, through 
him, stated that the object of his having requested them to assemble 
was to bring the accused to a trial before them, in order that if his 
guilt were established, he might be brought to condign punishment : 
he then pointed out to them the guilt and consequences of the crime 


of murder, and declared the course he had considered it his duty to 
adopt, The chiefs listened attentively to this address, and in reply, 
through the principal one, admitted that the man taken was in 
reality the guilty person, a fact known to every person upon the 
island. Captain Hudson then stated to them that it was absolutely 
necessary that Tuvai should be promptly punished, in order that 
others might be deterred from the commission of the same crime. 
He suggested, however, that in spite of the universal belief in Tuvai's 
having committed the crime, it was proper that he should undergo a 
trial, or at least an examination, in order that he might have the 
privilege of being heard in his own defence. 

This suggestion being approved, Tuvai was brought on shore under 
a military guard, and placed in the centre of the building. He was 
an ill-looking fellow, of about twenty-eight years of age, and mani- 
fested no fear, but looked about him with the greatest composure. 

The trial was simple enough; he was first asked by the chiefs 
whether he was guilty of the crime, to which he answered that he 
was ; being next asked why he had committed it, he replied that he 
had done it in order to possess himself of the man's property, (clothes 
and a knife.) 

The chiefs, among whom was Pea, of Apia, to whom the criminal 
was distantly related, made every effort in their power to save his 
life ; stating that he was ia darkness, and therefore unconscious of 
the guilt of the action, when he committed the murder; that as they 
had but just emerged from heathenism they ought not to be subjected 
for past actions, to laws they knew not ; that these laws were made 
for people who occupied a more elevated station; that Tuvai was a 
poor man of no account, and was not a person of sufficient impor- 
tance to be noticed by a great people like us ; that Faa Samoa (the 
Samoan fashion) did not allow men to be put to death in cold blood, 
but that after so long a time had elapsed, as in the instance before 
them, it admitted of a ransom. 

Pea went on to say, that many bad acts had been committed upon 
natives by white men, with impunity, and asked whether the Chris- 
tian religion sanctioned the taking of human life. He then appealed 
to our generosity to pardon the present crime, and assured us that no 
such offences should be committed in future. 

Pea had one of those countenances which exhibits all that is 
passing in the mind. It was amusing to see him at one time exhi- 
biting a picture of whimsical distress at the idea of being compelled 

vol. 11. 24 


to put his kinsman to death, and immediately afterwards laughing 
at something ludicrous which had occurred to him. 

Pea was seconded in his endeavours by Vavasa, of Manono, one of 
the finest-looking of the chiefs, whose attitudes and movements were 
full of grace, and his manner exceedingly haughty and bold. 

In reply to their arguments, Captain Hudson stated, that however 
freely other sins might be forgiven, in consideration of their late 
benighted state, even the darkness of Paganism could not extenuate 
the crime of murder. He told them that the Scriptures said, " "Whoso 
sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed;" that nothing 
but the life of the offender could satisfy the demands of justice, and 
that they must execute the criminal themselves. 

This announcement caused much excitement; the chiefs again 
asserted that they knew no such laws ; that by the customs of Samoa, 
the anger of the friends and relations of a person who had been killed 
was to be appeased by a present from the criminal or his relations, 
and by a form of submission, which consisted in knocking their heads 
three times on the ground. To this it was replied, that the guilt of 
the prisoner had been proved and admitted — he must die. 

The chiefs, after much reluctance, consented, but expressed great 
repugnance to an immediate execution. They urged in the most 
strenuous manner, that the criminal should be carried on board ship, 
and executed there, or that he should be taken to some uninhabited 
island and left. These alternatives were refused by Captain Hudson, 
and the chiefs seemed in great distress. 

At this point of the discussion, the Vincennes was announced as 
being in sight, and the proceedings were suspended. An officer was 
immediately despatched, who, as has been already mentioned, boarded 
that vessel off the harbour. 

When I landed, I found the assembly anxiously awaiting the result 
of my arrival. Captain Hudson and myself had a private interview, 
in which he detailed all the facts, and stated that it had been his 
intention to compel the chiefs to make all the preparations for the 
execution, but before it was carried into effect to come forward and 
reprieve the criminal, at the same time requesting Mr. Mills to make 
an appropriate speech, stating the reasons for the pardon. 

After a full discussion of the whole subject, we came to the con- 
clusion, that it would be best to transport the criminal to some other 
island ; for it appeared probable that this would have a better effect 
than even his execution, as it would be longer remembered, while 


to cause him to be put to death might naturally excite a desire of 

This decision was at once communicated to the chiefs, with a 
statement, that in conformity with the laws of Tahiti in such cases, 
Tuvai should be transported to a desert island, where he would never 
again have an opportunity of killing a white man. The chiefs, 
although evidently relieved from the most intense part of their dis- 
tress, were still much affected by this decision. 

The prisoner was then ordered to be taken on board the Peacock, 
whither he was followed by a crowd of natives, with many tears 
and lamentations, among whom his wife was the most affected. 
Among others, Pea the chief of Apia, to whom, as has been stated, 
the prisoner was related, was very much distressed and excited. 
Unable to vent his rage and trouble in any other manner, he spent 
it tipon the crowd around him, striking in all directions with a 
huge stem of a cocoa-nut leaf, by which he soon dispersed them. 
I felt a curiosity to see what effect the sentence would have upon 
the prisoner. Death he would have suffered without uttering a 
murmur ; but when he heard he was to be taken from his native land, 
his firmness was overcome, and he was observed to shed tears. He 
made no resistance to his being removed on board ship, but after he 
got there he said he would rather be put to death and buried in his 
own native island, than banished to a desert one. 

After this difficult business was arranged, they brought their own 
grievances before me, and particularly their complaints against the 
American whalers. They said that some of them had evaded their 
port charges, and refused to pay for the provisions with which they 
had been furnished. To this I replied that I was ready to indemnify 
them for their losses, and should ask no other proof of them than 
their own statement. They appeared struck with the unexpected 
liberality of this offer ; but after consultation, as if to manifest a 
corresponding feeling, declined to accept it. I then informed them 
that their port charges for the squadron should be paid, which gave 
much satisfaction, particularly to old Pea, who would derive the 
principal benefit from them. The fono then broke up in great good 

Pea and some of the other chiefs were very anxious to hear from 
me what sort of an island Tuvai was to be put upon. They asked 
many questions in relation to it, and always among the first, whether 


there would be any cocoa-nut trees, Nature's first and best gift to 
them, upon it. Wishing to make the intended punishment as 
terrible as possible to them, I always replied that there would be 
none whatever. 

After Tuvai was again on board ship, old Pea paid him a visit, in 
the course of which the former melted into tears, howled bitterly, 
and begged that he might be taken on shore to be put to death, in 
order that his body might be buried in his native soil. It appeared 
from information that we received, that this was a part of a concerted 
plan to obtain a farther commutation of his sentence, and that this 
affecting interview was got up in order to excite our sympathies. 
Finding it did not produce the desired effect, old Pea went about the 
ship with a doleful visage, exclaiming, " Eoloisa-ia-tu Tuvai" — have 
compassion on Tuvai. 

I was in hopes to find the surveys of Upolu nearly, if not quite 
finished ; but the Flying-Fish, which was to have aided in perform- 
ing them, had not yet been seen or heard from. This was no small 
disappointment, as it might compel me to bring the Vincennes into 
the harbour, and thus incur a serious delay. 

Before I had decided upon this step, I learned that a chief of the 
name of Opotuno, whose capture had been considered so important 
by our government that a ship of war had been despatched for the 
express purpose, had again become troublesome, and was threatening 
vengeance upon all the whites who might fall in his power. I there- 
fore determined to make an attempt to obtain possession of his person 
by stratagem. Lest, however, such an attempt should create dis- 
turbance in the island, or be productive of injury to the white 
residents, I determined, before putting my purpose into effect, to 
have an interview with the Rev. Mr. Williams, the principal mis- 
sionary in these islands, both to consult as to the best mode of 
accomplishing this object, and to learn what effect it would be likely 
to have on the operations of the missionaries.* I accordingly set out 
for his residence at Fasetootai, about twenty miles to the westward 
of Apia, in the hopes of seeing him. Mr. Cunningham, H. B. M. 
Vice-consul, was kind enough to accompany me. 

* Mr. Williams is the author of the well-known Polynesian Missionary Researches, 
and it will be our melancholy office hereafter, to speak of his falling a martyr in his 
efforts to propagate the gospel. 


We left the Peacock at sunset, and reached Mr. Williams's snug 
cottage about midnight. Nothing coidd be kinder than the welcome 
he gave us ; and the pleasure he expressed at our visit soon made us 
feel at home. He gave us supper, and provided us with comfortable 
beds. Shortly after our arrival, another party was welcomed, con- 
sisting of three ladies and a gentleman of the mission, who were in 
like manner provided for, without apparent inconvenience. 

Mr. Williams seemed to me exactly what a missionary ought to 
be, pious, cheerful, and meek, although resolute. His whole thoughts 
seemed to be directed to the welfare of those whom he had under- 
taken to enlighten. His views were pointed not only to the diffusion 
of the gospel, but also to the extension of the useful arts, and what- 
ever could tend to elevate the condition and eradicate the vices of the 

After a long consultation, Mr. Williams came to the conclusion 
that there was no reason for fearing that the arrest of Opotuno 
would be the cause of any injury to the whites or missionaries. He 
said that Opotuno was a blood-thirsty fellow, and that it would be 
doing the islands a great service should he be removed ; that there 
was not a shadow of doubt that he had murdered twelve whites, of 
whom several were Americans ; that he was a determined enemy to 
the whites, and in the habit of saying that he would omit no oppor- 
tunity of killing all who might come within his power. Mr. 
Williams, however, doubted the success of any attempt to take 
Opotuno, unless it was made under disguise ; for upon the approach 
of all men-of-war, and during their stay, he lived in the mountains 
of Savaii, where it was impossible to find him. 

The situation of Mr. Williams's cottage is pretty ; it stands within 
a few rods of the beach, and is surrounded by a nicely dressed lawn, 
on which are several fine trees; the background is filled up with 
cocoa-nut, bread-fruit, and a variety of other trees. Near by is the 
tiny ship-yard of his son, Mr. John Williams, who was taken by his 
father to England, and there taught all the mechanical trades. He 
has returned thence within a few months, with his wife, and by the 
aid of a few natives has already built himself a vessel of about twenty- 
five tons burden, which he proposes to employ in trading among 
these islands. 

The next day we returned to Apia. On our way we stopped at 
Sagana for the purpose of visiting Malietoa, the principal chief of the 
Malo or conquering party. 

vol. ii. 25 


Sagana is a neat settlement, and is regularly laid out ; it is situated 
on a small peninsula, across whose isthmus a stone wall has been 
erected, for the purpose of protecting the plantations within it from 
the swine. The village contains about six hundred inhabitants, and 
there is a school composed of about fifty scholars kept by Mr. Wilson, 
one of the missionary teachers, son of the missionary at Matavai Bay. 

No preparation had been made to receive us, for I came unan- 
nounced ; nor, indeed, had it been my intention to stop, but hearing 
that this was the residence of Malietoa, and that he was at home, Ave 
paid him a visit. He was well advanced in age, and it was generally 
remarked that he bore a striking resemblance to General Jackson. 
The resemblance is not confined to that of person only ; for Malietoa 
possesses also not a little of the same energy of character. 

I have rarely seen a place where more attention is paid to clean- 
liness than at Sagana. A similar regard to neatness prevails in the 
walks around the village, and in the cultivation of the taro, melons, 
and bananas, which is carried on in the immediate vicinity. The 
paths leading to these cultivated grounds pass through fine shady 
groves. The preservation of the broad walks and paths appears to 
be rather an amusement than a labour to the villagers. 

Here Malietoa was seen in his domestic circle, with his wives and 
children around him. I found him in a small house, enjoying the 
afternoon breeze, with his daughter playing about him. She was 
about fifteen years of age, and decidedly the prettiest girl we had 
seen in this group ; her name was Emma, and she was as intelligent 
as she was pretty. 

The chief, whose hair was white with age, made us warmly wel- 
come, and wished to go over to his fale-tele to receive us as became 
chiefs, but this I would not permit. His wives busied themselves in 
getting things in order, very much after the fashion of other parts of 
the world, when a stranger arrives unexpectedly. In a few minutes 
the fine mats were laid, the stools, calabashes, and straw put away. 
A clean shirt was slipped over the old man's head while my attention 
was called off to another object. 

Malietoa's house was not larger than the others in the village, and 
exhibited no other difference from them than in containing a dais or 
platform, occupying about a third of it, and raised about a foot higher 
than the rest of the floor. 

When the domestic arrangements were completed, large bunches 
of bananas and fresh cocoa-nuts were brought in and presented to us. 


Mr. Wilson was an excellent interpreter, and by his aid I had a long 
and agreeable talk with the old chief, who, when his wars were 
touched upon, appeared full of fire and animation. 

I intimated my desire to have a conference with the ruling chiefs,, 
for the purpose of transacting business, whereupon he readily 
assented to call a fono, and appointed the 4th of November as the 
earliest day on which he could possibly get the chiefs, a part of 
whom must come from Savaii, together. This day he named 
himself, after having made a reckoning of the six intervening days 
upon his fingers ; I observed, however, that he found it necessary 
to repeat the count several times. Having transacted this business 
with him, and regaled ourselves on his hospitable fare, we took our 

On reaching the Peacock, I found that none of her surveying 
parties had returned, and the Flying-Fish was still missing ; I thus 
became satisfied that I should be detained here for several days. I 
therefore sent orders for the Vincennes to make for the harbour, where 
she anchored in the afternoon near the Peacock. 

The next day, parties were despatched in various directions, so as 
to bring all parts of the island under examination at the same time. 

One of these excursions was made across the island. On arriving- 
at the highest point of the ridge, between Siuma and Siusinga, which 
has an elevation of two thousand and fifty feet, and just before the 
descent began, a clearing was found, in which were two mounds of 
earth, each about fifteen feet high, and one hundred and twenty feet in 
circumference ; several stone walls were also seen. In respect to these, 
there is a tradition that they were built by the warriors of Vavao, who 
invaded Upolu, and after their predatory warfare along the coast was 
over, occupied this commanding position for the purpose of cutting 
off the communication between the opposite sides of the island. The 
trees growing on these mounds are nearly two feet in diameter, and 
the missionaries have inferred from their inquiries that the invasion 
referred to occurred seventy or eighty years ago. 

Messrs. Dana and Couthouy visited a lake called Lauto, which lies 
to the westward of this pass, and in the centre of an extinct crater. 
The edge of the crater was found to be two thousand five hundred 
and seventy feet above the sea, and the descent thence to the water of 
the lake is one hundred and twenty feet. These gentlemen succeeded 
in obtaining a line of soundings across the lake, by cutting down 
trees, and forming a raft of them. They found the depth in the 


middle nine and a half fathoms, decreasing thence gradually in 
all directions to the shore. The form of the lake is neaidy circular, 
and it has a subterranean outlet. The hill in which this crater is 
situated is conical, and there is a low knoll at some distance to the 
south of it, which is the only other elevation in the neighbourhood, 
above the general height of the ridge. 

The border of the crater is clothed with the usual forest foliage of 
these islands, which, however, exhibits here more than usual beauty, 
being decorated with the finely worked fronds of the arborescent ferns, 
in widely-spread stars, and the graceful plumes of a large mountain 

The poets of the island have appreciated the beauty of the place, 
and allude to the perpetual verdure which adorns the banks of the 
lake, in the following line : 

" Lauuto'o e le toi a e lau mea." 

" Lauto, untouched by withered leaf." 

There is a legend connected with this lake, that has more of poetic 
beauty and feeling than one would have supposed to exist among so 
rude a people. It is as follows : 

Many generations since, during a war between Upolu and Savaii, 
a number of war-canoes from the latter island crossed over to attack 
Ulatamoa (or, as it is now called, Ulumoenga), the principal town in 
the district of Aana. At the time of their approach, two brothers, 
To'o and Ata, chanced to be paddling their canoes in the channel 
between the reef and the shore, and before they could reach the land 
were attacked by a party of Savaiians. After a valiant defence, Ata 
was overpowered and slain, while To'o narrowly escaped the same 

Overwhelmed with sorrow at the loss of a brother whom he 
tenderly loved, To'o retired to a neighbouring mountain, and burying 
himself in the darkest recesses of its forests, made them resound with 
his bitter lamentations. At length in his wanderings he came to 
the summit, where, stooping down, he scooped out with his hands a 
vast hollow, and, leaning over its brink, suffered his tears to fall in 
until it was filled. The lake thus formed has ever since borne the 
appellation of Lauu-to'o. 

The regard of To'o for his brother's memory was further evinced 
by his adoption of Ata's name, conjoined to his own as his family 


title, and the appellation of Toomata, a contraction of To'o-ma-ata, is 
retained by his descendants, who are still chiefs of note in Upoln, 
and from whom the tradition was derived. 

The lake of Lauto is regarded with superstitious dread by the 
natives, who believe it to be the abode of the spirits, who, in former 
times, were regarded with great veneration, and worshipped. These 
were supposed to inhabit the waters of the lake, in the shape of eels, 
as thick as a cocoa-nut tree, and two fathoms long. The attempt of 
our gentlemen to explore it was looked upon as such a profanation 
that their native guides left them, and regarded them as persons 
doomed to accident if not to destruction. The eels were represented 
as so savage and fierce that they would bite a person's leg off. No 
eels, however, nor any other fish, were seen in the lake. 

In the neighbourhood of the crater no rock was observed in place, 
nor any light scoria. Only a few fragments of stone were scattered 

The cone of the crater of Lauto, is flatter than the others of the 
same character that were visited, and particularly than that of Mount 
Tofua. This is the westernmost of them all, and lies behind Fase- 
tootai. It rises so boldly, that it is seen distinctly from the sea. 
This, with all the other craters, are situated upon the central ridge, 
and the most conspicuous of those which remain, are Siusinga, which 
lies behind Sagana and Faliata. There is also one upon Mount 
Malata, in the rear of Fangaloa, and another on the southern side of 
the island, near Salomana. 

The part of the ridge on which Tofua is situated, is much lower 
than the cone itself, and has gradually declined from its eastern end. 
The ascent from Fasetootai has, for the first three or four miles, an 
almost imperceptible rise ; after this, the slope increases rapidly until 
it becomes quite abrupt. Even in the steepest parts, however, the 
rock was rarely visible, but is covered with a deep and fertile soil, 
arising from its decomposition, and mixed with vegetable mould. 
The whole declivity, from the very summit of the peak to the shore 
of the sea, is, like other parts of the island, clothed with a dense 
forest, which shuts out all view of the ocean, except from the top of 
the mountain. The ridge whence the cone rises was found to be 
one thousand one hundred and fifty feet above the level of the sea, 
and the angle of ascent thence upwards, was from 40° to 50°. The 
top of the peak, which forms the edge of the crater, is not more than 
fifteen feet wide in any place, and sometimes not more than half as 

vol. ii. 26 

1Q2 U P O L U — M A N O N O — S A V A I I. 

much. It is of uniform height, and has a circular form ; the cavity 
within it was estimated as having a circumference of about two and 
a quarter miles, and occupies the whole summit. The depth of the 
crater was found to be three hundred and sixty feet, and the whole 
of its interior is filled with lofty trees. The slope of the inner 
declivity was 60°. At the foot of this is an uneven plane, covered 
with earth and loose cinders or scoria. Upon this grow forest trees, 
many of which were more than one hundred feet in height, beneath 
which is a dense growth of shrubbery. 

It was remarked, that although it had rained constantly for several 
days before this crater was visited, no water was found within it. 
This is accounted for by the fact that many of the brooks and streams 
on the island are subterranean throughout their whole course, while 
others are partly so. The former gush up near the sea-shore in large 
springs or fountains, forming natural, or feeding artificial pools, in 
which the natives bathe. According to our observations, such pools 
are so numerous on the western shore of the island, as to occur on the 
average, at intervals of a mile. 

The rocks of this island are of the volcanic character that might be 
expected from the existence of so many craters. They are princi- 
pally composed of a variety of basaltic lava, in which are found 
augite, felspar, albite, and chrysolite. Extensive currents of lava are 
seen, and are particularly abundant on the southern side of the island. 

It appears as if these had flowed down towards the sea-shore in 
various directions, and that after their outer surface had cooled, the 
portion that remained liquid within had run out, and left a sort of 
tunnel. Such tunnels are numerous, and form the subterranean 
courses of the streams. Some of these natural tunnels are remark- 
able : among them, one visited near Sanga will serve as the type of 
all. It was found to be a cavern nine hundred and fifty-eight feet in 
length, extending in a southeast direction, and to have an average 
width of about fifteen feet ; its roof was about eight feet in height. 
At the termination of this cave, there was a pool of water five feet in 
depth, the temperature of which was observed to be 72°, while that 
of the air within the cavern was 76-6°, and that of the open air was 
77-4°. These streams of lava are much more frequently seen on the 
southern than on the northern side of the island ; they are also larger 
on the former of these sides, where they were in some places four 
miles in width. 

The path from Vivimanga to Sanga is called the Stone Road, 

UPO LU— M ANONO— S A V A I I. 103 

formed in part of blocks of lava. There are also in this neighbour- 
hood many caves in the streams of lava. The cave at Sanga is the 
largest of these, and to describe it will convey an idea of those of 
smaller dimensions. 

The cave at Sanga was dedicated to the god " Moso," who was 
supposed to reside in it. The entrance was found to be closed by an 
artificial wall built across it, about three feet thick ; it is four feet 
high, and six feet wide. The sides, roof, and floor of this cavern are 
comparatively smooth, and are covered with stalagmites of a light 
yellowish colour, which are not calcareous. 

It had been reported that this cave was frequented by a peculiar 
kind of swallow, which never ventured into the light of day. Mr. 
Peale, who was one of the party that visited it, found swallows in 
abundance, which made a bat-like noise, or rather one having a resem- 
blance to the rattling of pebbles. So far, however, from their being 
a peculiar species, as they had been represented, they were the 
common species of the islands, and instead of shunning the light of 
day, they were continually passing in and out of the cavern, which 
was merely a place selected by them for breeding. On the ledges 
of the sides and roof their nests were found composed of pieces of 
moss glued together. The eggs were white, and of a large size in 
proportion to the bird, and no more than one was found in each nest. 

In traversing the island of Upolu, many deep gorges were seen, in 
which there were waterfalls. One of these cascades was measured, 
and found to be seven hundred and fifty feet in height, so that the 
whole of the water was dissipated in spray before it reached the 
bottom. These glens are wild in the extreme, and beautiful, from 
the great variety and peculiar character of the foliage with which 
they are clothed. 

The south side of Upolu, like that of Tahiti, is much more luxu- 
riant than the northern, which is owing to a like cause, namely, that 
it receives more moisture from the prevailing winds. 

The wild orange grows every where in great abundance, and in 
some places the road was literally strewed with the fruit, which here 
equals the cultivated variety in size. 

In the different jaunts across the island, many of the "Devil's" or 
unconverted towns were visited, where our parties were always 
treated with great hospitality. At the town of Suisinga the chief 
who entertained our party was a priest of the Gimblet religion. 
This new faith has made some progress among these islands, and has 
the following singular origin : 


A native of Savaii, by name Seeovedi, was taken from that island 
by a whale-ship, and did not return for several years. During his 
absence he visited several ports, where it would seem he obtained 
some notions of the forms and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic 
Church. Possessed of considerable natural shrewdness, he founded 
on this knowledge a plan to save himself from labour for the future, 
by collecting followers at whose expense he might be maintained. 
During his absence, and while on board the whale-ship, he had 
received, as is usual in such cases, instead of his native name, that 
of Joe Gimblet, and this cognomen is now firmly attached to the sect 
of which he was the founder. 

Having formed the plan of founding a sect, he did not scruple as to 
the means of carrying it into effect ; for he boldly claimed a heavenly 
mission, professing to hold converse with God, and asserting that 
he possessed the power of working miracles, raising the dead, &c. 
He soon gained many proselytes, and had attained great conside- 
ration and authority, when, unfortunately for him, he was called 
upon to exert his pretended power of raising the dead, by restoring 
to life the favourite son of a powerful chief called Lelomiava, who 
had been murdered. 

Joe did not hesitate to undertake the accomplishment of this miracle. 
He in the first place directed a house to be built for the reception of 
the body, and when it was finished he required that it should be sup- 
plied with the best provisions. In conformity with this requisition, 
the choicest articles of food that could be obtained were regularly 
handed to Joe for the use of the defunct, upon whom he alone 
waited, while every other person except the chief and himself was 
excluded from the building. 

The food thus regularly supplied as regularly disappeared, and 
Joe assured the chief that his son had eaten it, and under this 
bountiful allowance would soon recover his strength, and walk forth. 
In this way time wore on, until the patience of the old chief began 
to show symptoms of being exhausted. This somewhat alarmed Joe, 
but as he was a fellow of infinite resources, he contrived to evade 
inquiry and procrastinate, hoping, no doubt, that some lucky incident 
might turn up, by which he should be enabled to extricate himself 
from the dilemma. Unfortunately for him, however, after another 
month of anxious suspense, the old man's pigs and taro fell short, 
notwithstanding the chief's dependants had for a long time been 
restricted from using them. All of them were in fact much reduced 
by their compulsory fast, with the exception of Joe, whose rotundity 


of form seemed to indicate that he at least ran no risk of starvation. 
Whether it were owing to the suspicions which his jolly appearance 
excited, or that he began to entertain doubts of Joe's supernatural 
powers, is not known ; but one day old Lelomiava determined to 
satisfy himself of the progress making in the restoration of his son. 
With this design he entered the house, and was shocked with the 
sight of his son's body in a state of loathsome putridity. He imme- 
diately summoned Joe, and informed him that it was time that the 
promised miracle should be accomplished, adding, that it must be 
done by the morrow's dawn. Joe immediately redoubled his exer- 
tions, and prayed hastily to all the saints of his calendar. He, 
however, knew full Avell what would be his fate if he remained to 
encounter on the morrow the anger of the savage chief. He therefore 
effected his escape during the night, and made his way to his native 
island. There he remained for some time incog., but now ventures 
to appear openly, practising his impositions boldly, and is the worst 
antagonist the missionaries have to deal with. 

This story was related by the old chief himself, who, instead of 
finding his son restored to life, was compelled to bury his body, 
which he did, with the exception of the head. This he put in a box, 
and suspended beneath the peak of the roof of his house, where it 
remains, a witness of his credulity and of the gross imposition that 
was practised upon him. 

While the party remained at Siusinga, a sick native was brought 
from the coast to a neighbouring house, and their host, the Gimblet 
priest, was called upon to pray for him. This afforded them an 
opportunity that might not otherwise have occurred, of learning some 
facts in relation to the ceremonies of this sect. 

On this occasion, the priest approached the house where the sick 
man lay, and when upon the stone platform in front of it, he drew 
forth a book from the folds of tapa in which it had been carefully 
enveloped. He then called upon Jehovah, returning thanks for the 
many blessings which had been conferred on his people, and asked for 
a continuance of the same, invoking the name of Jesus. He ended 
by inquiring the Divine pleasure concerning the sick man, and 
begging mercy for him. 

The nature of the book could not be distinctly seen, as it was again 
carefully enclosed in the tapa as soon as the ceremony was over ; but 
so far as it was visible, it bore an unquestionable resemblance to a 
blank note-book ! 

vol. ii. 27 


The proselytes of this sect, in case of sickness, confess their sins to 
one another, and have a number of fast-days, which are rigidly kept. 
Their Sabbath occurs only once a month, and is celebrated by the 
firing of guns and the puerile mummery in which their worship 

In pursuance of the resolution I had adopted, Captain Hudson set 
out on the 30th of October, with the boats of his ship, for the purpose 
of attempting the capture of Opotuno. This noted chief of the neigh- 
bouring island of Savaii, had, as has been stated, committed several 
murders and other outrages. Among other acts, he had taken 
possession of two boats, sent on shore by the whale-ship William 
Penn, Captain Swain, of Nantucket, killing the chief mate, and the 
two boat-steerers. The third officer of the vessel was also wounded 
and left for dead upon the beach ; he was however, picked up by some 
females, who removed him to a hut, where, through their kind atten- 
tions, he recovered. He did not. however, rejoin his ship, but re- 
mained for some time on the island. 

The most surprising part of the history of this transaction is, that 
Captain Toby, of the ship Swift, of New Bedford, afterwards pur- 
chased these boats from Opotuno, although he knew that chief had 
obtained them by murdering this captain's own countrymen. 

Captain Hudson fell in with the Flying-Fish, on his way to Savaii, 
and took her with him, to aid in carrying on the stratagem by which 
the watchfulness and suspicions of the wary chief were to be lulled 
to rest. 

On their arrival off the part of the island where Opotuno usually 
resides, they made for the shore under pretence of surveying, and 
reached the village of Setipetea, which adjoins that where he dwells. 
We afterwards learned that no sooner had the boats got within the 
reef, than he prepared for his flight to the mountains. The news of 
the capture of Tuvai, and the reappearance of boats from a vessel 
(the Peacock) which had passed about ten days before, served to put 
him on the alert. He had, however, become so daring that he did 
not at once fly, but awaited more decided indications of hostility, and 
when Captain Hudson, accompanied by only two men, passed through 
his village, having left his boats only a mile distant, he entertained 
the intention of shooting him. He had actually cocked his gun for 
this purpose, when one of his followers advised him not to fire, 
as he would bring great trouble on the island if he shot a chief. 
When the boats' crews afterwards entered Opotuno's village, the 


inhabitants showed much alarm, but the chief was missing. It was 
therefore considered advisable to make no hostile demonstrations; 
as no good purpose could have been effected by following him to 
the mountains, where it would have been impossible to apprehend 

The boats therefore returned, and although without succeeding in 
the main object of the expedition, something was gained in reviving 
his apprehensions of being captured. His village was not destroyed, 
because to do so would have been no injury to him, but only distress- 
ing to its poor inhabitants. He would have laughed at the idea of 
his being punished by the burning of their habitations, as it is said 
he did so when an attempt was made during a previous cruise of the 
Vincennes by her commander, who visited his village, and burned 
two or three of his houses. 

The impunity he has hitherto enjoyed has served to render him 
audacious, and it is not long since he put to death an American 
seaman, who had been left sick in his charge. 

Opotuno is detested by his brother chiefs, not only for his aggres- 
sions upon foreigners, but on his countrymen also. Only a short 
time before our arrival, he seduced and carried off the wife of Vavasa. 
This act was considered so outrageous, and was so deeply resented, 
that we were informed a war was only prevented by the near 
relationship of these two chiefs. The Samoans regard with horror the 
idea of those connected by ties of consanguinity, fighting against 
each other. 

Opotuno is not only related to Vavasa, but is the adopted son of old 
Pea of Manono, a connexion which was not without its effect in 
averting hostilities. 

On the 4th of November, a fono was held, according to the 
appointment made with Malietoa, in the fale-tele of Apia. All 
the officers who could be spared from the ships were ordered to 
attend. Old Pea, the chief of Apia, seemed to be the master of 
ceremonies on the occasion. Clean mats were spread for the chiefs, 
and chairs and benches borrowed from the missionaries' houses were 
placed for us, opposite to them. All the highest chiefs of the " Malo" 
party were present, except Pea of Manono, and two minor chiefs of 
Savaii. Malietoa presided. His whole demeanour was dignified, 
composed, and thoughtful. His personal appearance has already 
been spoken of, and the form of his head, his white hair, and digni- 
fied bearing, again reminded us of General Jackson. He is slender 


and tall, although somewhat bent by age. It was to be regretted 
that his dress was ill chosen, and rather detracted from the respect he 
would have inspired had he appeared in his native garb; he wore 
pantaloons, a round jacket, and a pink and white striped cotton shirt. 

Tooa, the nephew of Malietoa, who acted as spokesman, and whose 
countenance betokened the interest he felt in the business, attracted 
attention in the second degree. Then came Mole, the son of Malie- 
toa, Maletau, their general, the most renowned leader in the war of 
Aana, and Tai-ma-le-lagi, Malietoa's brother. There were also pre- 
sent a number of chiefs of less distinction, among whom was old Pea 
of Apia ; although he was compelled to take his place, yet he did not 
fail to be conspicuous, not merely by his personal appearance, but by 
his officiousness. 

The proceedings were conducted with great ceremony, but there 
was a marked difference between this fono, and the solemnity of our 
Indian councils. The Samoan assembly appeared more quiescent, 
the proceedings exhibited more refinement, and the customs partook 
of an Asiatic character. 

In all such meetings a rigid order of precedence, that seems well 
understood by every one, is established ; all conversation is carried 
on in a whisper; no one is seen standing in the presence of a 
superior, and sitting with outstretched legs is considered indecorous. 
Articles were never passed over a person, and no native ever ventured 
to come in contact with a chief. 

The background on the side of the natives was filled up with 
inhabitants from different parts of the island. 

On the opposite side of the building, the officers of the squadron 
and the missionaries formed a numerous group. Among the latter, 
was our friend Mr. Williams and his son, whom I had appointed to 
act as consul until the pleasure of the government of the United 
States was known, and whom it was intended to present in this 
capacity to the meeting, in order that he might be recognised 
formally by the chiefs. Messrs. Heath, Mills, and Wilson were also 
present; and Mr. Heath, who was believed to be best acquainted 
with the Samoan language, was kind enough to officiate as our 

The object I had in view, in requesting the fono to be called, was 
to procure the formal enactment of laws and regulations which might 
secure to our whale-ships a certainty of protection and security, and 
at the same time to prevent impositions being practised by them upon 


the native government, of which, as has been stated, complaint had 
been made. To the breach of these laws, it was intended that the 
penalty of a fine should be attached, in order to secure obedience to 

The meeting being organized, I in the first place presented Mr. 
John Williams, as the consul of the United States, whom the chiefs 
recognised as such with great willingness and satisfaction. 

We then entered upon the discussion of the proposed regulations, 
which were adopted in a form which promises to be mutually 
beneficial, being highly advantageous to them, and at the same time 
insuring a certainty of security to American vessels that may visit 
the island they could not before enjoy.* 

One of the articles referred to the redress of injuries committed by 
the natives, and provided for the punishment of those who had been 
guilty of crime, by giving them up. 

Wishing to rid these islands of a pest both to natives and foreigners, 
I now, as authorized by the spirit of this article, made a demand for 
the murderer, Opotuno, and stated that a compliance with this would 
settle all disputes between us. This demand produced a great 
sensation among the chiefs, and much excitement prevailed in the 
meeting. Malietoa, in reply to it, expressed himself strongly in 
detestation of the character of Opotuno, and stated that his capture 
by us would give him satisfaction, but argued that the regulations 
now enacted could not apply to his past misdeeds, and that he 
would only come within its operation should he be again guilty of 
like crimes. He in short pleaded that the law could have no ex post 
facto bearing. 

He next argued, that the inevitable consequence of any attempt on 
their part to seize Opotuno, would be to involve the whole group in a 
civil war, for he was not only a powerful chief himself, but connected 
with others still more so ; and that a civil war was that which he 
most desired to avoid. He however went on to say, that so far as he 
was concerned, no opposition would be made to any steps on our 
part to secure one whom they knew to be guilty of great outrages ; 
but he could not in any way assist. 

In conclusion, he stated that the islands had, until within the few 
years that had elapsed since he obtained the command, been the seat 

* A copy of these regulations will be found in Appendix IX. 
vol. n. 28 


of continual wars ; that they were now aware of the advantages of 
peace, and had a just sense of the benefits they in consequence 
enjoyed ; and declared that he should do all in his power to preserve 
the blessings of peace, and maintain the unwonted state of prosperity. 
For these blessings he ascribed high acknowledgments to the mis- 
sionaries, saying that he hoped the Samoan people would in due time 
profit by the lessons taught them, and adopt all the improvements of 
the Papalangis. 

Few persons have ever inspired me with more respect than this 
old chief, and his sentiments were delivered by Tooa in an impressive 

It was not my object to drive them to extremities, or to press for an 
instant decision. I also wished to give them time to reflect upon and 
canvass the regulations just adopted, and perceived that they began 
to be fatigued with the length of the conference. I therefore proposed 
that before they gave me a final answer in relation to Opotuno, they 
should take time for consideration and reflection, for which purpose 
I suggested that the meeting should be adjourned until the next day, 
which was accordingly done. 

On the 5th November we again met, when the arguments urged 
the day before were a second time brought forward, and the necessity 
of their taking measures that should effectually prevent outrages 
upon the persons and depredations on the property of white men. 
strongly set before them. They met these arguments with complaints 
against the white men who had come to the islands or been left upon 
them, saying that many of them were bad fellows, and had caused 
much trouble. I at once told them that if they would bring these 
turbulent persons to me, I would take them away from the islands, 
and that the laws they had now assented to, were such as would 
secure their punishment for any future offences. 

In this state of the proceedings we were favoured with a set speech 
from the official orator of Malietoa, an old blind chief, who stood up 
supporting himself by leaning with both hands upon a long stick. 
In this attitude he poured forth such a torrent of words as few of us 
had ever before heard ; and if eloquence be composed of elocution 
and a ready flow of language, he was fully entitled to the praise of 
possessing it. 

As we learned from the translation of this speech, its object was to 
urge the necessity of going to war, in order to secure the murderer, 


Opotimo, for the purpose of delivering him up. This, however, was 
intended only for effect; for these, as we well knew, were not the 
real sentiments entertained by Malietoa. 

This speech was made up of short and distinct sentences, was 
spoken in a loud voice, and contained many repetitions. 

However contrary this speech may have been to the cool determi- 
nation of Malietoa, it seemed to meet the popular feeling, and there 
is no saying what might have been the consequence, had not the 
missionaries contrived to check the outburst. It was now proposed, 
that the fono should receive and publish a document, offering a large 
reward for the seizure and delivery of Opotuno, dead or alive. This 
proposition was a new source of excitement, and old Malietoa ex- 
claimed with emphasis, " Give me the paper — I will put it upon my 
house ; where all the world shall see it." 

A copy was then nailed on the pillars of the council-house, which 
Pea was made responsible for, and others were prepared and distri- 
buted to the several chiefs. 

The meeting was then dissolved, and every one present evinced 
the greatest satisfaction that the whole of the business before it had 
been concluded in so satisfactory a manner. 

The island of Upolu is divided into three districts, viz., Atua, Tua- 
Masanga, and Aana. Each of these was formerly governed by a sepa- 
rate and independent chief, styled Tui. Atua occupies the eastern end 
of the island, which extends as far as the town of Lauli ; Tua-Masanga 
is the middle division, and includes the towns of Siuma and Safata. 
on the southern shore; Aana lies west of this, and comprises the 
remainder of the island. The first of these districts is of the greatest 
extent, the second is at present the most powerful, and the third is 
the most fertile. The union of these districts under one general 
government, in which the island of Savaii is also included, is a late 
event. Previous to 1830, this island had suffered from the usurpation 
of a chief of Manono, called Tamafago, who was a great tyrant, but 
who had contrived to cause his person to be considered as sacred, and 
to impress on his countrymen the idea that it would be sacrilege to 
disobey, hurt, or even to touch him. After the conquest of a rival 
district in Savaii, he assumed the style of king of that island, " O-le- 
Tupe-o-Savaii," a title which Malietoa now enjoys, but without 
deriving from it any power. 

Tamafago not only ruled at Savaii with royal and divine attributes, 


but obtained a complete ascendency over Upolu, where he compelled 
all to give up their property to him, and to yield the women of all 
classes to his desires. 

Finally, bis tyranny and excesses exceeded the bounds of patience, 
and the people of Aana rose against him, conquered and put him to 
death. From this arose the war of Aana, which will be again spoken 
of; for the chiefs of the other islands considered themselves bound to 
avenge the death of Tamafago. The people of the other districts of 
Upolu were not united in the support of their neighbours of Aana, 
who had made themselves almost universally odious by their haughty 
bearing. The war was a bloody one, and resulted, after a continuance 
of two or three years, in the entire defeat of the people of Aana by 
those of Manono, who expelled them from their district, and forbade 
their return to it on pain of death. 

This fertile region remained entirely unoccupied until the arrival 
of the missionaries; but when the Christian influences of their 
preaching began to be felt, the decree that condemned Aana to 
solitude was annulled, and the few of its former inhabitants who 
had escaped slaughter, were permitted to return to their ancient 

The island of Manono, whose inhabitants exerted such an influence 
in the closing scenes of the war of Aana, is situated within the sea- 
reef of Upolu. It contains eleven hundred inhabitants, and is the 
residence of the chief Pea, who must be distinguished from the 
inferior personage of the same name who resides at Apia. This 
island is covered with forests throughout its whole extent; its cir- 
cumference is about four miles ; and it is the station of one of the 
English missionaries. 

In spite of its small extent and scanty population, Manono is 
identified with the political history of all the other islands of the 
group ; for, during the reigns of the two Tamafagos, it held supremacy 
over them. The reason of its acqvuring and exercising this political 
supremacy, is principally to be ascribed to the possession by its inhabi- 
tants of the small island of Apolima, which they used as their " olo" or 
citadel. To this retreat, inaccessible except at a single point, the 
inhabitants of Manono were in the habit of retiring when pressed by 
too powerful an enemy, and when his rage had spent itself, they 
thence returned to their home with undiminished numbers. 

This natural fortress lies between Manono and Savaii, and sound- 



ings extend to it both from the shores of Upolu and Savaii. The 
coral reef attached to it is but small. 

Apolima, on the most cursory examination, is evidently the crater 
of an extinct volcano. Perpendicular cliffs rise from the sea around 
its whole circuit, except at a single point on its northern side. Here 
the lip of the crater is broken down, and admits the water of the 
sea into a small bay, which affords a safe harbour for boats. The 
entrance to this is so narrow as to admit no more than one boat at 
a time, and is dangerous whenever there is any surf. It may, 
therefore, be easily defended. There is only one other point on the 
island where it is possible to effect a landing, namely, at a small 
height to the westward of the bay, and here it can only be done 
when the water is perfectly smooth. But an enemy landing here 
would have made no progress, for before the interior can be reached 
from this point, the steep and precipitous rocks remain to be climbed 

The highest point of Apolima is on its south side, where it is four 
hundred and seventy-two feet above the sea. The perpendicular 
cliffs which face the sea are of course bare of vegetation ; but with 
this exception the whole surface is covered with cocoa, bread-fruit, 
and other trees, or with plantations of taro, yams, &c. 

In the centre of the island is a village of about twenty houses, and 
the permanent population consists of no more than about seventy-five 

vol. ii. 29 


persons. The people are evidently jealous of the maiden reputation 
of their natural fortress, and showed much concern when we visited 
it, which the women even manifested by shedding tears. 

It can be readily understood from this description of Apolima, that 
whatever party held it would be able to maintain possession of it 
against great odds, and thence to take advantage of any weakness 
or want of watchfulness on the part of their enemies. 

While we were engaged at Tutuila and Upolu, the survey of the 
island of Savaii was performed by Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold, 
in the Porpoise. It has already been mentioned that this vessel had 
been detached for that purpose, and that Dr. Pickering, from the 
Vincennes, had gone in her. The brig first touched at Sapapale, the 
residence of the Rev. Mr. Hardie, who gave them a cordial welcome, 
although much surprised at so unusual an arrival. 

Many of the natives collected to view the white men, of whom so 
many had never been seen together on the island. In their remarks, 
they, among other things, praised our people for their beauty. 

Dr. Pickering and Lieutenant Maury were landed here, to remain 
upon the island while the brig was employed in surveying it; the 
former to examine its productions, the latter to observe the tides. 
Mr. Hardie kindly afforded them accommodations in a new house 
he had just been erecting. 

Lieutenant-Commandant Ring-wold, after landing Dr. Pickering 
and Lieutenant Maury at Sapapale, proceeded around the island for 
the purpose of surveying it. He began with the examination of the 
large bay of Paluale, near the eastern point of the island. Here there 
is a missionary station, under the superintendence of Mr. M'Donald, 
who had resided there for about six months, with his wife and chil- 
dren. The natives are peaceable, but are described as inquisitive and 
rude. The village is prettily situated, and is approached through a 
boat-passage in the reef. 

The south side of the island was found rocky and iron-bound, with 
a heavy surf breaking on it. Towards the western end of the island, 
the rocks around the points were worn into cavities, and the sea 
rolling into them produced innumerable spouts of water. 

When the brig was abreast of the deep inlet of Salealua, a native 
missionary came off in a whale-boat. He tendered every possible 
civility, and was very desirous that a trade might be opened with the 
village of the same name. This is situated at the head of the bay, 
upon a sandy beach, and has around it and upon the sea-shore a con- 


siderable extent of level plain, filled with groves of cocoa-nut and 
bread-fruit. Upon examination, no shelter was found for vessels in 
this bay, and the urgency of the duty required that the brig should 
pass on w thout farther intercourse with the shore. 

Near the northwestern point of Savaii is the large and beautiful 
village of Felialup^, with a snug little cove for boats. This place is 
under the charge of a Tonga missionary. The natives were friendly, 
and disposed to exchange their poultry and fruit, for tools, cloth, &c. 

The next inlet on the north side, was that of Asau. This was 
supposed to be the only place where there was any probability of 
finding a harbour. But the hope of such discovery was frustrated, 
for there is onty a small and shallow entrance through the reef, and 
within the reef the shore forms an extensive flat. 

Many canoes from this village visited the brig, and before they had 
taken leave a theft was discovered. A commotion immediately took 
place, and the native missionary at once gave himself up as a hostage, 
until the article (a whetstone) should be brought back. A canoe was 
then despatched to the chief, and in the course of an hour he came 
on board, bringing the article. Both the chief and the native mis- 
sionary expressed great mortification that such an occurrence had 
taken place. Several small presents were made to them, and they 
returned to the shore highly pleased. 

Proceeding on the survey, the brig arrived off the north point of 
the island, and reached the bay of Mataatua, which was examined, 
and found to afford a good anchorage. The brig was anchored here, 
and the harbour surveyed. This is the only harbour in the island 
where a vessel can anchor with safety, and here supplies of hogs, 
poultry, and vegetables, may be had in abundance ; wood and water 
are also easily obtained, the latter from copious springs near the 

A great difference in form, physiognomy, and manners, from those 
of the adjacent villages, was observed here, as well as a change in 
the character of many articles of manufacture. The war-clubs, and 
spears, were of uncommon form, and neatly made. 

This bay is surrounded by a white coral beach. The natives 
appeared harmless, but manifested great curiosity. The women are 
more gracefully formed than at the other islands. 

The native missionaries appeared to exercise much influence over 
them, having put a stop to many of their former evil practices. 

On the 24th, the brig again arrived off Sapapale, after an absence of 

H6 UPOLU — M A N O N O — S A V A I I. 

nine days. Here they were joined by Dr. Pickering and Lieutenant 
Maury, and found the o'd chief IV" a etoa and his son Mole, who were 
extremely courteous. On the former being presented with some 
articles, he remarked, that "our property was very gocd, but our 
good- will better." 

Dr. Pickering engaged natives to accompany him into the interior, 
and to visit the Mu or burnt district. Preparations for the journey 
were made in advance, and among other things it was stipulated, 
that there should be only two meals a day : one early in the morning, 
and another in the evening. The first day, however, was to form an 

Mr. Hardie accompanied the party for a few miles, and they soon 
after their departure met a native who was styled "the Lord of the 
Forest." The party were desirous that this man should accompany 
them, for his appearance promised more than that of the others, and it 
seemed it was necessary to obtain his permission before they could 
enter the forest. In times of scarcity, his domains become of great 
value, in consequence of the quantity of wild yams they yield. This 
person agreed to accompany them, and they proceeded along a good 
path through cultivated grounds of Taro, Draeama, &c. Mr. Hardie, 
before leaving the party, endeavoured to make the natives understand 
the nature of Dr. Pickering's errand ; the latter was unable to make 
himself understood by them. They had not proceeded far before they 
came to an uninhabited house, where the natives stopped for the pur- 
pose of preparing dinner, the cooking of which occupied three hours ! 
The day was in consequence well advanced before they again started, 
and at about 4 p. m. they reached an open shed, about two miles from 
the last stopping-place, where the natives concluded to halt for the 
night. The occupants, who consisted of two elderly women and a 
young man, were dispossessed, and the shed was enclosed by hanging 
up leaves of the Heliconia, which resemble those of the banana. They 
then prepared' some excellent cocoa-nut pudding, and heated some 
cocoa-nut milk in the shells. This beverage is usually taken by 
them every morning and evening ; the natives all saying grace 
before their meal, and prayers before they went to rest. It was 
late the next morning before Dr. Pickering could get the party in 
motion, and pursuing their route* they soon overtook the Lord of the 
Forest, who had preceded them, and was employed in cutting a path 
through the woods, although that already made might have been 
easily passed through. No inducement could make them change 


their purpose, and they continued to work at their turnpike, lopping 
off large branches, beating down ferns, &c. After some time, they 
reached a rising ground, which they found to be on one side of a 
crater, about a thousand feet above the sea, and seven miles inland. 

Dr. Pickering now concluded that it was a hopeless task to attempt 
to penetrate into the interior with such guides, and determined to 
return, which he accordingly did. He found the rest of his party a 
mile in advance of their previous encampment, where they had built 
for themselves a fine house, and each man had collected two large 
baskets of yams for provisions. This was their stopping-place for the 
night, and among other cares for the Doctor's comfort, they con- 
structed for him a native pillow, formed of a piece of bamboo, with 
legs lashed to it about three inches high. 

The natives were in high spirits during the evening, talking and 
laughing immoderately. They succeeded in getting off by nine 
o'clock the next day, and reached the coast about noon. 

During the stay of Dr. Pickering and Lieutenant Maury on this 
island, they were objects of great curiosity ; and whenever they 
walked out they were followed, not only by boys, but grown men, 
who did not, however, offer to molest them in any way. When they 
passed through the villages, all the inhabitants, not excepting the 
scholars from the schools, came out to look at them. The latter, 
however, did not abandon their books, but retained them in their 
hands ; for all, whether young, middle-aged, or old, are anxious to 
learn, and their perseverance, as in other parts of the group, is 

Dr. Pickering here witnessed the taking of fish in a different mode 
from that practised on the other islands. Application was made to 
the chief, and through his influence a meeting of the head men of the 
town was called, and a fishing expedition agreed upon. The net, if it 
could be so called, was prepared, and in the course of two days every 
thing was ready. The net was a kind of cheval-de-frise, made of the 
leaves of the cocoa-nut tree, split and wound round a line, and was 
little less than half a mile in length. It was more formidable in 
appearance than in reality. This net was taken out at high water to 
the coral reef, in three pieces, then fastened together, and thus made 
to enclose a large extent of water. This space was gradually con- 
tracted by doubling up the net, which answered the same purpose 
as the drawing of a seine. The fish did not attempt to pass it, and 
were thus driven towards a certain point, where a sort of sack of 

vol. 11. 30 


matting had been placed for them to enter. As the fish were 
gradually enclosed by the mat, and the tide fell, the scene became 
an animated one. Men, women, and boys, to the number of two or 
three hundred, were eagerly engaged in picking up or catching 
the stragglers as they were seen leaping up ; the whole area seemed 
alive with fish, jumping in every direction, some over the heads of the 
natives, and thus escaping, while others leaped into hand-nets. About 
a canoe-load was caught, comprising thirty different kinds of fish, 
some of which were six or eight pounds in weight, but the majority 
were smaller. The haul was considered an unsuccessful one, which 
was attributed to some misunderstanding and mismanagement among 
the natives, by which a large stone fell on the net, and allowed many 
of the fish to escape. 

Savaii is the most western island of the Samoan Group, and is also 
the largest, being forty miles in length and twenty in breadth. It is 
not, however, as populous, or as important, as several of the others. 
It differs from any of the others in its appearance, for its shore is low, 
and the ascent thence to the centre is gradual, except where the cones 
of a few extinct craters are seen. In the middle of the island a peak 
rises, which is almost continually enveloped in clouds, and is the 
highest land in the group. On account of these clouds, angles coiild 
not be taken for determining its height accurately, but it certainly 
exceeds four thousand feet. 

The interior of the island is rarely entered, even by natives, and 
has never been penetrated by strangers. The only settlements are 
upon the shore, along which the natives always journey, and there 
are no paths across it. 

Another marked difference between Savaii and the other large 
islands, is the want of any permanent streams, a circumstance which 
may be explained, notwithstanding the frequency of rain, by the 
porous nature of the rock (vesicular lava) of which it is chiefly 
composed. Water, however, gushes out near the shore in copious 
springs, and when heavy and continual rains have occurred, streams 
are formed in the ravines, but these soon disappear after the rains 
have ceased. 

The coral reef attached to this island is interrupted to the south 
and west, where the surf beats full upon the rocky shore. There 
are, in consequence, but few places where boats can land, and only 
one harbour for ships, that of Mataatua; even this is unsafe from 
November to February, when the northwesterly gales prevail. 


The soil is fertile, and was composed in every part of the island 
that was visited, of decomposed volcanic rock, and vegetable mould. 

The Porpoise, having taken Dr. Pickering and Lieutenant Maury 
again on board, set sail for Tutuila, for the purpose of joining the 
Vincennes, and beat to windward along the south side of Upolu. 
During this passage many of the crew became sick, which rendered 
it necessary to stop for a few days at Pago-pago, in order to recruit 
them. Here they all speedily recovered, except one man, named 
David Blodget, who died. The disorder was attributed to the damp- 
ness of the vessel. 

The delay in the arrival of the Porpoise at Apia caused me to send 
the Flying-Fish to Tutuila, whence they both returned to Apia. 

Previous to sailing, at the pressing instance of the chiefs, I ordered 
the marines and small-arm men of the squadron, in all about one 
hundred and fifty, to be sent on shore, with their music, for exercise. 
They had been well drilled to act on shore should occasion require, 
and were provided for the occasion with blank cartridges. The 
natives from far and near were collected to witness the review, and 
few scenes that occurred during the voyage were as amusing as this. 
The old and young were equally delighted, and it was ludicrous to 
see them endeavouring to imitate the soldiers, in their marches and 
countermarches. They were not satisfied unless the drummers were 
constantly beating, and were particularly delighted with the bass- 
drum. The firing occasioned some alarm at first, but when they saw 
it did no harm, they became reconciled to it, although even to the 
last they would scamper off to a distance at each discharge. 

The review left an impression on their minds of the superiority of 
our arms that will not soon be forgotten. 

The men were embarked at sunset, and had many jokes to relate 
of the conduct of the natives, and particularly old Pea, who on this, 
as on other occasions, acted as master of the ceremonies. 

During our stay in this group, we experienced two slight shocks of 
earthquakes, their occurrence here is not unusual, but there is no 
account of any damage having been done. Their motion is generally 
tremulous and horizontal ; one, however, has been experienced of a 
wavy description. They are said by the foreigners often to produce 
the sensation of sea-sickness. 

On the 10th of November, the whole squadron was assembled in 
the harbour of Apia, after having been actively engaged since the 
8th of October in examining the different islands, and making 



surveys of their coasts and harbours, &c. This work was all expe- 
ditiously and well done, with the exception of the south side of the 
island of Upolu, which was imperfect in some respects; it was con- 
sequently re-surveyed in the following year, and the charts finished. 
Besides the surveys, full series of experiments were made in magnet- 
ism, and extensive collections obtained in natural history, botany, &c. , 
the islands being traversed by parties in several directions for this 
purpose. For the results in these departments, the reader is referred 
to the Reports of the Naturalists ; and to the Hydrographic Atlas, for 
the charts. 








:ai. n ie tt da, 



During the time that the squadron remained in the Samoan 
Group, all the islands of which it is made up were visited ; not only 
were the examinations, spoken of in the two preceding chapters, 
made, but their shores were minutely surveyed by boats ; the meteo- 
rological instruments were duly registered ; astronomic and magnetic 
observations made, and a full record of the tides kept. We have 
thus obtained a large amount of information, which will be more 
easily intelligible in a condensed form, together with a great number 
of facts in relation to the aboriginal population, which may be made 
more interesting when applied to give a general view of the habits, 
character, and state of civilization among the natives, than if dispersed 
in isolated remarks in the accounts of the separate tours in which it 
was obtained. 

The group lies between the latitudes of 13° 30' and 14° 30' S., and 
the longitudes of 168° and 173° W. The islands, as has been seen, 
agree in the general character of being of volcanic structure, and 
having coral reefs ; differing, however, in the modifications of these 
formations, which have been from time to time described. The 
harbours are usually situated within the reefs, but Tutuila is an 
exception to this rule, by the possession of the deep land-locked basin 
of Pago-pago. This is, of all the ports, the one best adapted for the 
refitting of vessels; but Apia, in Upolu, in the latitude of 13° 48' 
56-6" S., and longitude 171° 41' 09" W., is not so difficult of egress, 
and in consequence of its proximity to the fertile district of Aana, the 
most convenient for vessels seeking only a temporary anchorage and 

The approach to Pago-pago, and the other harbours of the Samoan 


Isles, is not difficult ; and as the soundings extend in some places for 
a distance beyond the reefs, vessels may drop an anchor in case of 

The flood tide among these islands sets to the westward ; beyond 
its influence, on the southern side of the islands, a current generally 
prevails to the eastward, while it runs westward on their northern 
side. Vessels, therefore, when beating to windward, would find it to 
their advantage to keep on the southern side of the group, where 
there is not only a favourable current, but where the winds would be 
found more regular, and calms less frequent. 

Tidal observations were made cotemporaneously at Tutuila, Upolu, 
and Savaii ; these show a regular difference of one hour in the tidal 
wave between Tutuila, and Upolu ; the tide at Savaii appears from 
the record to have been more irregular than at the other islands, 
which may in part be attributed to the extent of the reef, but I 
also fear that there may have been a want of due attention to the 

The climate of these islands may be termed variable, and there is 
much bad weather, particularly during the winter months, when 
long and heavy rains, attended at times with high winds and 
northerly gales, are frequent. Destructive hurricanes also occur, 
and of these one is still recollected which blew down the bread-fruit 
trees, and destroyed many of the houses. 

The air is more moist than that of the Society Islands, and the 
vegetation in consequence more luxuriant. Thunder and lightning 
are often experienced, but during the slimmer months light winds 
and calms are the prevailing characters of the climate. 

Some of our gentlemen made the remark, that, to judge from the 
time at which the bread-fruit was gathered, there must be a great 
difference between the seasons of this island and Tahiti ; for when we 
arrived at Tutuila, that product was ripe and in abundance, although 
when we left Tahiti, only a few days before, it was unripe and not 
to be had. The same remark was made in relation to the vi-apple 
(Spondias dulcis). But, by comparing the voyages of Cook and Wallis, 
it would appear that the time of the year at which the bread-fruit is in 
season at Tahiti is not constant, for both these navigators found it in 
perfection, although they visited that island in different months. If 
there be a difference between the time of the ripening of the bread- 
fruit in the Society Islands and this group, the greater moisture and 
higher mean temperature of the Samoan climate will account for it. 


The temperature of the air at Apia varied from 77-7° to 80-2° ; that 
of the water from 81-25° to 83-75°. 

The mean height of the barometer in the group was 30-128 in. 

The islands of the Samoan Group contain two thousand six hundred 
and fifty square miles, which are divided as follows, viz. : 

Savaii 700 

Upolu 560 

Tutuila 240 

Manono ........ 9 

Apolima ........ 7 

Manua 100 

Oloosinga ........ 24 

Ofoo 10 

The soil of all the islands is rich, and arises chiefly from the 
decomposition of volcanic rocks. At Tutuila, it was remarked that 
the vegetation was luxuriant, and the trees of large growth. At 
Upolu the forests seemed more sombre than those of Brazil, although 
the same kind of growth appeared to prevail. 

The trees do not branch out until near the top, which renders it 
difficult to obtain botanical specimens. The trunks are covered, and 
even the summits of the trees sometimes overgrown, with the leaves 
of the scandent Flagellaria (Freycinetia), a climbing Piper, and 
other vines, as Hoyas, Convolvulus, &c. The lower part of the 
trunks are enveloped with ferns, of which there are many varieties, 
and with some species of Pothos, which give the whole ground a 
matted or woven appearance. 

The woods in the interior of the islands are very thick, and often 
composed of large and fine trees; among them are, tree-ferns, a 
species of banyan, pandanus, and several species of palms. Among 
other plants a species of Cerbera was observed, with beautiful clusters 
of large and odorous white flowers, which yielded a quantity of white 
viscous sap, that our botanist, Mr. Rich, thought might be manufac- 
tured into caoutchouc. On the whole, the species of trees are much 
more numerous than at Tahiti, and the vegetation in consequence 
richer and more varied. The woods, however, are not enlivened by 
showy flowers, and the few of these that are seen are of a white or 
grayish hue, which is to be ascribed to their being but little exposed 
to the rays of the sun, in consequence of the umbrageous foliage. 
Many of the flowers seen on the ground were unknown to our 
botanist, as were several fruits. 

vol. ii. 32 



Among the trees which have been named, that which struck us as 
most remarkable was the species of banyan (Ficus religiosa), called 
in these islands ohwa. Some of these were seen, whose pendent 
branches had taken root in the ground to the number of thousands, 
forming stems from an inch to two feet in diameter, uniting in the 
main trunk more than eighty feet above the ground, and supporting 
a vast system of horizontal branches, spreading like an umbrella over 
the tops of the other trees. For the sketch of one of these I am in- 
debted to Mr. Peale. 


The bread-fruit is the most abundant of all the trees, and grows 
here to a large size ; the vi-apple, the cocoa-nut, and the wild orange, 
are also found in great numbers; and at Tutuila a large lime-tree 
was seen in full bearing, which was said to have been planted before 
the arrival of the missionaries. 

Among the most singular of the vegetable productions is the stinging 
tree, of which the natives are much afraid ; for if its leaves be touched, 
an eruption is produced, particularly if the skin be wet. Its leaf is 
cordate, but quite smooth. 

The arborescent ferns are not as numerous as at Tahiti, but grow 
to a larger size. The palms gave a character of luxuriance to the 
country, from the variety of their foliage. Rattans ninety feet in 
length were seen running over the trees. 

Bamboos and the wild sugar-cane were very common ; the latter is 
used in thatching houses : the wild ginger also abounds. 

Of the wild nutmeg (Myristica), two species were seen, which are 
small trees, and likely to be passed without notice, were it not for the 
peculiar manner in which branches grow out of the trunk, which is 


in whirls, at regular intervals, like the white pine (Pinus strobus) of 
our Northern States. 

It was remarked that the character of the vegetation approached 
more nearly to that of the East Indies than of the Society Islands, 
and the leafless acacias were the type of those we afterwards saw in 
New Holland ; but there are some plants which appear peculiar to 
these islands. 

Many of the trees we have named, as well as other plants, are 
objects of cultivation ; but the ground cleared for this purpose does not 
extend far from the coasts, near which all the villages are situated. 

To clear the land, the bark is burnt off the trees, after which they 
are permitted to stand until they become dry, when they are cut 
down and used as fuel. 

The cultivated plants and trees are, bread-fruit (of which they have 
twenty varieties), cocoa-nut, ti (Dracsna), bananas, taro, paper-mul- 
berry, tacca, from which arrow-root is made, and of which they have 
several sorts ; sugar-cane, which is not made into sugar, but used 
only for thatching; coffee, ava (Piper mythisticum), sweet-potato, 
pine-apple (Anana), brought by the missionaries from the Society 
Islands; yams, the papaya, and tobacco in small quantities. The 
agave has not been introduced ; but in a few years lemons and sweet 
oranges will be produced in great quantities from trees which have 
recently been planted. 

To the cultivation of the tacca they pay little attention, yet the 
quality of the fecula (arrow-root) made from it is said to be superior. 

The missionaries are endeavouring to teach the natives the best 
mode of cultivating the sugar-cane and manufacturing it ; and it is said 
that a few persons have adopted the new methods. At present they 
find a substitute for sugar in the root of the ti plant, which is baked 
in ovens, and yields a large quantity of saccharine juice resembling 

Great attention is paid to the cultivation of the yam. They are 
planted in October, and are ripe in February and March. The vines 
run up the trees, and when they die, the root is known to be ripe. 
To plant them, they are cut, like the potato, into pieces containing 
eijes, which are laid in heaps and covered up until the sprout appears. 
The pieces are then set out at distances of about three feet from each 

Hearing that there were some extensive savannas in Upolu, over- 
grown with the wild sugar-cane, I directed Assistant-Surgeon Whittle 


and Mr. Couthouy, to proceed to the east end of the island, where 
they were said to grow. They, however, saw nothing of the kind, 
except a few small patches of that plant. 

There are no traces among these islands of any native quadruped, 
nor any other of the mammalia, except a species of bat (Pteropus 
ruficollis), which is very destructive to the bread-fruit. Swine have 
now become abundant, and the missionaries have introduced cattle, 
which are rapidly increasing, and will in a few years be in sufficient 
numbers for the supply of vessels.* Horses have also been brought 
to the islands. 

The first large quadruped ever seen by these islanders was a mule. 
With it they were much astonished, and it was considered so great a 
curiosity, that it was carried around the island of Upolu for the 
purpose of gratifying the natives with a sight of it. They gave it a 
name signifying — the hog that travels over the ground. 

Poultry of all descriptions is plentiful, and pigeons abound, which, 
however, are considered sacred, and not used as an article of food. 
Of the latter bird (Columba oceanica), between sixty and seventy 
specimens of different varieties were obtained, but it is remarkable 
that of all these, none were the same as those found in the Society 
Islands. To the Zoological Report I would refer for further informa- 
tion on this subject. There are but few birds of game, and none of 
the hawk genus. A philomel was pointed out by the missionaries as 
the principal singing bird, and the woods of Tutuila were filled with 
warblers. The note of the philomel, although much praised, did not 
appear agreeable to me. 

The pigeon is commonly kept as a plaything, and particularly by 
the chiefs ; for this purpose they are fastened to a stick by a thread 
about twelve feet in length. They are taught to fly from and return 
to the stick, and when well tutored to this feat, the possessor of the 
bird exhibits it with much pride and satisfaction. One of our officers 
unfortunately on one occasion shot a pigeon, which caused great com- 
motion, for the bird was a king-pigeon, and to kill it was thought as 
great a crime as taking the life of a man. The people were not to be 
pacified until the interpreter told them that the officer belonged to 
" man-of-war," w T hich intelligence, together with a small present 
satisfied them, and the matter was settled. 

To justify their regard for them, we were told that when the 

* On Upolu there are now twenty head of cattle, and seven horses. 


inhabitants of Aana were driven away, about eight years since, 
by the people of Manono, the pigeons abandoned the district, but that 
upon their return to their homes, the pigeons again made their 
appearance in their former abodes. 

Snakes were found in Upolu, and sea-snakes are reported to have 
been seen off the islands. 

Fish are taken in the neighbouring waters, in great abundance 
and variety. Besides other modes of taking them, they are caught 
on the reefs by women, who place baskets near the holes where they 
are accustomed to take shelter. They are also speared by torchlight, 
and taken in deep water by the hook. Among the sea-fish, mullets 
are very numerous, and are frequently seen leaping from the water in 
immense shoals. 

One of the modes in which fish are caught by the Samoans, was 
witnessed at Samatau. About a dozen canoes formed themselves into 
a ring around what appeared to be a dark circular spot in the water, 
about six feet in diameter, and which was moving along with a slow 
and unequal motion. This was a shoal of the small fish called lou, 
which is about two inches in length. The shoal being thus sur- 
rounded, the circle of canoes was gradually lessened, until the fish, 
finding themselves enclosed on all sides, ceased to move forward. At 
this moment the head fisher, who was seen standing up in the canoe 
with a net in his hand, threw it dexterously over the shoal, upon 
which all the other men dove at once from the boats, and remained 
for several seconds under the water, where they secured the sides of 
the net. On reappearing, all regained their canoes except four, who 
remained to take charge of the net, which with its prize they con- 
veyed to the chief. 

These islands furnish abundant supplies for the refreshment of 
vessels, but as yet there are few articles which can be rendered 
available in foreign commerce. Tortoise-shell, of which a little has 
at times been procured at Savaii, cocoa-nut oil, and arrow-root, are 
nearly all that can be procured in quantities beyond the immediate 
wants of the visiters. Caoutchouc, gum Arabic, castor beans, orris- 
root, ginger, and coffee, might however be easily added to the list of 
exports. In return for what they can furnish, the natives now look 
to objects of real utility; beads, jews-harps, &c, once so much in 
request, are now scarcely prized ; and cotton cloth, writing-paper, 
and hardware, particularly needles and other small articles of utility, 
are the kinds of manufactured goods which are most sought after. 

vol. ii. 33 


The Samoan language is soft and smooth, and is the only one of 
the Polynesian dialects in which the sound of s is found. The 
letters that the missionaries have found necessary to adopt in order to 
write it, are only fourteen in number, viz. iaefgilmsopstuv. 
In attempting to sound the words of other languages, they use L in- 
stead of r, s for h, and p instead of b. The g has a nasal sound, as 
in ong. 

It has nearly the same construction as the Tahitian, nevertheless 
the Samoan is far from being understood by the natives of the Society 
Islands. The Samoans say that they never can acquire it — " their 
jaws are too stiff." The missionaries also have great difficulty in 
speaking it, and are liable to make many mistakes which appear 
absurd to the natives. 

We have seen that it possesses the sibilant sound of s, and every 
one of the words terminates with a vowel. 

A separate dialect is appropriate to the chiefs, all of whose actions, 
the parts of their bodies, &c, have different names from those of the 
common people. The Philological Report is referred to for further 
information upon this subject. 

Many of the Samoans reach the age of seventy or eighty years. 
There is, however, a great mortality among the young children, 
which is probably owing to their exposure to the weather. Those 
who survive, grow up robust and healthy. 

Among the diseases which afflict the adults, one of the most usual 
is a spinal affection, which results in caries and produces humpback. 
This is no doubt owing to the peculiar manner in which the children 
are carried. Catarrhs and bronchial disorders, occasioned by the 
exposed life of the natives, are prevalent, and a white resident died of 
phthisis during our stay. The dysentery, as an epidemic, is unknown, 
but sporadic cases of it occur, occasioned by imprudence in diet. 

There is an eruptive complaint, called ilamea, which covers many 
of the children under the age of ten years with sores, and which 
seems more particularly to attack the face and head. The mode in 
which it is treated is singular : the child is rubbed with the husks of 
the cocoa-nut, until all the scabs are removed ; a soft preparation of 
the bread-fruit is then applied, after which they are washed. This 
operation is undergone every time they bathe, which is daily. When 
the bread-fruit is not in season, a decoction of the husk of the cocoa- 
nut is used in its place. 

The elephantiasis prevails to a great extent among men who are 


past the middle age ; and some of the cases are truly frightful. There 
are also many instances in which women are affected by it. It does 
not appear to cause the least degree of pain. Among the reasons 
that have been assigned for the freqtiency of this disease are, the 
habit of eating their food without salt, and the use of cocoa-nut water ; 
to which may be added exposure at night, and want of sufficient 
exercise. The latter cause, whether it be capable of producing this 
disease or not, unquestionably exists ; for they are in the habit 
of sitting for hours with their legs bent under them, which must 
catise a stagnation of healthy circulation. Laziness, however, cannot 
be ascribed to them as a part of their national character, for they are 
disposed to exertion, and willing to be employed. When, therefore, 
they have received sufficient instruction, and civilization has taught 
them new wants, they will probably become an industrious and 
thriving people. 

Ophthalmia, which is supposed to arise from the reflection of the 
sun from the sandy beaches near which all their villages are built, is 
so prevalent, that, to speak within bounds, not less than a fifth part 
of the population is affected with it.* In most cases it was observed 
to begin on the inner corner of the eye, whence it extends gradually 
over the pupil, until the sight is completely lost. As the disease 
advances, the thickness of the film increases, and when it has covered 
the eye, that organ becomes enlarged and appears to project. From 
appearances it would not be difficult to remove the film, and thus 
cure the disorder; but the natives have not made any attempt of 
the kind. Several cases of total blindness arising;- from this disorder 
were seen. 

The venereal disease does not exist at Tutuila, and is hardly known 
in the other islands. This serves to prove how great a superiority 
this island possesses over Tahiti in the chastity of its females, who in 
general observe their marriage vow with strict fidelity. 

Fevers are rare, and those of a remittent and intermittent type are 
unknown ; in fact, the geological formation of these islands is by no 
means favourable to the generation of the miasmata that cause them. 

No means of medical assistance are attached to the English mis- 
sion, and the missionaries, therefore, can do but little in alleviating 
the maladies of the natives. Even their slight knowledge of remedies 

* It is so common at Savaii, that at least one case of blindness, in one or both eyes, is 
to be seen in every family. 

132 S A 310 AN GROUP. 

affords some alleviation, and their practice is far preferable to that 
of the natives, who always abandon to their fate those who are 
very ill. 

Among the few curative means that the natives do employ is a sort 
of shampooing. This is performed by rubbing the body and limbs 
with the hands, at first gently, and gradually more and more roughly. 
These manipulations are applied as a restorative after fatigue, and to 
alleviate pain. For the former purpose they are effectual, and often 
abate, if they do not remove, the latter. 

Among all the Polynesian islanders, the men of Samoa rank, in 
point of personal appearance, second only to the Tongese ; and many 
specimens of manly beauty are to be seen among them. As much 
cannot be said of the women, who are rather ill-formed and stout. 
When very young, however, some of them are pretty, and their 
colour is light, being little darker than that of a brunette or South 
American Spaniard. The girls are lively, have a good expression of 
countenance, and, what is rare in Polynesia, have some degree of 

The average height of the men is five feet ten inches, and some of 
the chiefs whose limbs are well rounded, would be called fine-looking 
men in any part of the world. Their features are not in general 
prominent, but are well marked and distinct, and are all referable to 
a common type. The nose is short and wide at the base ; the mouth 
large and well filled with white and strong teeth, with full and well- 
turned lips ; the eyes black, and often large and bright ; the forehead 
narrow and high ; and the cheek-bones prominent. It was observed 
that some of them had the eye turned up at the outer corner like the 
Chinese. Of beard, they have but little, but their hair is strong, 
straight, and very black ; instances, however, were observed, where it 
had been turned to a carroty red, by washing it with lime-water for 
the purpose of destroying vermin (Pediculus humanus). 

Little difference was perceived in the shape of the heads of the 
two sexes, for observing which there is a good opportunity among 
those who have embraced Christianity, who shave off their hair. 
The general form of the skull is broad and short, and is highest near 
the crown. 

When the islands were first visited, the natives were represented 
as ferocious and treacherous. This arose in a great degree from the 
bloody conflict they had with the boats of La Perouse's squadron; 
and the opinion was kept up by the just resentment they in some cases 


manifested for wrongs committed on them by lawless visiters. The 
instance of Opotuno, however, shows that this idea of their charac- 
ter is not entirely without foundation. Viewed in a more favourable 
light, they are, as we found them, kind, good-humoured, intelligent, 
fond of amusements, desirous of pleasing, and very hospitable. 
Both sexes show great kindness and love for their children, and age 
is so much respected that only old men are admitted to council. As 
a shade on this picture, they are indolent, covetous, fickle, deceitful, 
and little reliance can be placed upon them. To illustrate these 
features of their character : the first question asked when a chief 
receives a visiter is, " What present will you take ?" for they consider 
it incumbent upon them to bestow some token of regard, and a 
neglect to offer it would be indecorous. This custom was always 
complied with, when any of our officers visited them, and although 
it was evident they did not wish to part with any thing valuable, 
their choicest possessions were exhibited as if for the choice of the 
stranger. On the refusal of their offered presents, great joy was 
always to be observed in their countenance and manner, showing 
that they rejoiced in an escape from loss, while they had at the 
same time performed the prescribed rites of hospitality. This risk 
being over, they were too happy to supply us with cocoa-nuts and 
fruits. In spite, however, of the apparent liberality with which 
these were furnished, they do it in expectation of a full return. In 
pursuance of this hospitality, it is the custom when a stranger passes 
through a village without showing an intention to stop, to follow him 
and offer food. 

The Samoans are usually very inquisitive, and it was amusing to 
excite their curiosity. Among other things mentioned for the 
purpose was, that white men often wore false teeth and wigs. 
The latter practice in particular seemed strange to them, and they 
called it " thatching the head." A terrestrial globe was also shown 
to some of them, whereon the position of their islands and their 
small relative importance was pointed out. This excited great sur- 
prise, for until within a few years they had no idea that there was 
any country except their own. 

If the chiefs are liberal in their tenders of presents to their visiters, 
they on the other hand do not hesitate to ask for whatever they see. 
They may, in fact, be styled sturdy beggars. One of the most 
persevering in his mendicancy, was no less a person than Vavasa, 
the proud and overbearing chief of Manono. They usually began 

vol. ii. 34 


with begging- from the humblest individual, and ended with the 
highest; and when they had obtained all they could, would go over 
the side of the ship ridiculing our folly for giving so much. 

Old Pea, by way of excusing himself when charged with being a 
great beggar, said he did not keep any thing he got for himself ; that 
it was the Samoan fashion always to ask for every thing he saw. It 
mattered not if his request was refused, he was as content as if he 
obtained what he desired, but he said he should have blamed himself 
if he had not asked. 

The beneficial effects of the labours of the missionaries are more 
evident among the Samoans, than at Tahiti. The spread of the 
gospel has not been opposed by evil habits of the same inveterate 
character, and the natives of this group have been more easily re- 
claimed from their vices than those of the Society Islands. The 
greatest obstacle to the success of the missionaries has arisen from the 
presence of a few abandoned white men, who attach themselves to 
the heathen chiefs. Their opposition, although injurkras to the mis- 
sionary cause, yields little benefit to themselves, for of every thing 
they acquire, the chief under whose protection they are, takes half; 
and although no opposition is ever made to their departure from the 
islands, they are not permitted to take any thing with them. The 
vices of these men excite the disgust of the more well-disposed of the 
natives, who often express their astonishment at their ignorance of 
sacred subjects, and ask if it be possible that such men can have been 
brought up in a civilized community. 

The first attempt to introduce Christianity is related to have 
occurred in the following manner. Some years before the arrival of 
the missionaries, a vessel was wrecked upon the island of Upolu, and 
her cargo seized upon by the natives, many of whom even to the 
present day, regret that they did not then understand what riches 
were thus placed at their disposal. Their mode of treating the prize 
was farcical in the extreme : pipes were made out of candlesticks, 
clothing was thrown away as valueless, and many injured themselves 
with the fire-arms. The crew were well treated, and fed for a long 
time, although the natives were greatly astonished at the quantities 
of pigs required for their support, and entertained fears lest they 
should breed a famine in the land. The captain advised his crew to 
turn missionaries, and set them the example himself. He met with 
much success, and succeeded in building several churches, until upon 
the arrival of the English missionaries he was compelled to relinquish 


his assumed occupation. It is not probable that even the captain was 
deeply versed in religious knowledge, and very certain that the crew 
could not have been ; but their success appears to have arisen from the 
great veneration with which white men were at first regarded by the 
Samoans. They looked upon them as a sort of spirit, whom it was 
impossible to hurt or to kill; and the ships first seen off the coast 
were considered as heavenly messengers, prognosticating some dread- 
ful calamity. The bad conduct of their nautical visiters has destroyed 
this reverence, and foreigners generally no longer meet the kind 
welcome they formerly received ; this observation does not apply to 
the missionaries, who receive all the honour that is due to their good 
intention, of which the natives are fully aware. 

The Wesleyan missionaries, and those of the British Board, 
reached these islands about the same time, or the former were per- 
haps the first to arrive. The influence of the Wesleyan tenets, and 
the number of their followers increased rapidly under the superin- 
tendence of the Rev. Mr. Turner. Difficulties, however, arose 
between the two parties of missionaries, which were finally adjusted 
between the two boards in London, and the Wesleyans abandoned 
this field for that of the Feejee Group. This arrangement was amicably 
made, and I heard of only one individual on either side, who showed 
an uncharitable spirit towards his fellow-labourers of the other party. 
In spite of the removal of the Wesleyans, there is still a large number 
of the natives who adhere to the tenets and forms taught them by 
Mr. Turner, and still retain a strong attachment to him. 

The missionaries were from the very first taken under the protec- 
tion of the most powerful chiefs, and have never received either insult 
or injury from any of the natives. They have established schools in 
many of the villages, but have found a difficulty in obtaining native 

A printing-press has also been established at Upolu, and rapid 
progress is making in the translation of the Scriptures, of which some 
portions are already published. Many publications have issued from 
this press : among them I regretted to observe a small tract contain- 
ing a violent attack upon the Roman Catholics. The sight of this 
surprised me, as it contradicted the opinion I had formed, from my 
intercourse with the missionaries, of their liberality and freedom from 
intolerance. The sole object of the tract was to prepossess the minds 
of the natives against the missionaries of the Papal church in case 
they should visit these islands. This struck me as being at variance 


with the first principles of our religion, and I could not refrain 
from expressing an opinion that the tract was calculated to do much 

The labours of the English missionaries have been much aided by 
native assistants, who have been both industrious and successful ; and 
among them, those of Raratonga have the merit of having led the 
way. They have acted under the direction of Mr. Williams, and he 
was loud in praise of their exertions. I witnessed a most interesting 
meeting of these native missionaries, for the purpose of selecting nine 
from their number to accompany Mr. Williams to the New Hebrides, 
which has perhaps left a more deep impression on my mind from the 
melancholy result of that attempted mission. 

Great anxiety was exhibited by the candidates ; and I have never 
seen a more proper state of feeling, or listened to more correct 
sentiments than were expressed on this occasion. All appeared 
devoted to their calling, and some of them were quite eloquent. 
After the choice was announced, those upon whom it had fallen 
manifested a cheerful but not unbecoming triumph, while the re- 
jected candidates were evidently grieved and disappointed. The 
former were now invested with new apparel, which, although no 
more than a striped cotton shirt,* gave them an air of consequence 
among their brethren, which was amusing to us who could draw 
comparisons between this simple garment and prouder kinds of 

Each of the resident missionaries now delivered a long harangue, 
which was replied to by one of the selected. The subjects of these 
discourses were, on the one hand, advice in reference to the duties 
about to be entered upon, and on the other a recognition of the weight 
of the responsibility incurred by the successful candidates. 

Most, if not all, of those selected for the new mission were fine- 
looking men, and they were chosen out of many applicants, for their 
steady habits and strict moral conduct. The term of their engage- 
ment on the new duty was three years, after which they were to 

* This garment is the only remuneration that they receive during each year from the 
missionary funds, and with it they feel themselves well requited. 

I have to acknowledge the obligation under which I feel myself to the missionaries, 
both individually and collectively, for their kindness and attention. They did all in their 
power to further the objects of the Expedition, and to them the squadron is mainly 
indebted for a great part of the facilities we enjoyed of becoming acquainted with the 
manners, habits, and customs of the Samoans. 



return to their wives and children, who were not to accompany 

The extent and influence of the labours of the missionaries may 
be best understood by a comparison between the whole population of 
the islands, with the numbers of those who have embraced Chris- 
tianity, and attend the schools. 

The entire population of the group is estimated at 56,600, of whom 
14,850 have embraced Christianity, and 12,300 attend the schools. 
These numbers are thus distributed : 





Eastern Group . 























The whole number of foreign missionaries is eleven, of whom one 
resides in Tutuila, six in Upolu, three in Savaii, and one in Manono. 

The number of native teachers is one hundred and thirty-eight, of 
whom five are in the Eastern Group, thirty-one in Tutuila, fifty in 
Upolu, thirty-six in Savaii, twelve in Manono, and four in Apolima. 

Besides those counted as having actually embraced Christianity, it 
is said that two-thirds of the whole population belong to the Christian 

Of those who attend the schools, about ten thousand read, and this 
newly introduced habit has of course made a very great change in 
the habits of a majority of the people, but the number of heathen still 
left is sufficient to furnish an idea of their original manners and cus- 
toms, which will in a few years be either entirely lost, or so modified 
by the spread of the gospel as to change their character entirely. The 
rapidity with which this change is going on, rendered it desirable to 

vol. ii. 35 


obtain as much information as possible in relation to the pristine 
manners of this people. 

As respects their ancient religion, we have obtained the following 
particulars of the heathens. They acknowledge one great god, 
whom they call Tagaloa-lagi, but pay less worship to him than to 
their war-gods, Tamafaiga, Sinleo, and Onafanua. The first entices 
them to war, the second leads them to it, and the third is a female 
goddess, who encourages them to fight. 

Mafuie is their god of earthquakes, who was deemed to possess 
great power, but has, according to the Samoans, lost much of it. 
The way in which they say this occurred is as follows. One Talago, 
who possessed a charm capable of causing the earth to divide, coming 
to a well-known spot, cried, "Rock, divide! I am Talago; come to 
work !" The earth separating at his command, he went down to 
cultivate his taro patch. His son, whose name was Tiitii, became 
acquainted with the charm, and watching his father, saw him 
descend and the earth close after him. At the same spot, Tiitii 
said, "Rock, divide! I am Talago; come to work!" The rock did 
not open, but on repeating the words, and stamping his foot violently, 
the earth separated, and he descended. Being a young man, he 
made a great noise and bustle, notwithstanding the -advice of his 
father to be quiet, lest Mafuie would hear him. The son then asked, 
" Who is Mafuie, that I should be afraid of him ?" Observing smoke 
at a distance, he inquired the cause of it. Talago said, " It is Mafuie 
heating his oven." Tiitii determined to go and see, notwithstanding 
all the persuasions of his father, and met Mafuie, who inquired who 
he was. " Are you a planter of taro, a builder, or a twister of ropes?" 
" I am a twister of ropes," said Tiitii ; " give me your arm, and I shall 
show you." So taking the arm of Mafuie, he twisted it off in a 
moment. Such a practical illustration of his powers soon made 
Mafuie cry out, " Na fia ola, na fia ola!" — I desire to live, I desire to 
live ! Tiitii then took pity upon him, and let him go. The natives, 
on feeling an earthquake, exclaim, " Thanks that Mafuie has but one 
arm ! if he had two, he would shake the earth to pieces." 

The god Salefu supports the earth. They have likewise Mesua, 
Faana, Tinitini, Lamamau, who are gods of lightning, rain, whirl- 
winds, &c. These gods are said to reside on an island to the west- 
ward, from which quarter their bad weather usually comes. 

They had, likewise, many inferior gods, who watched on particular 


districts. These various gods owned certain animals, reptiles, fish, 
and birds. In some few districts inanimate objects were worshipped, 
thus : a branch of bamboo, with a bunch of cocoa-nut fibres tied on 
the top, was worshipped in Manono. They also had carved blocks 
of wood and stone erected in memory of dead chiefs, which they 

The account they give of the creation of their island is as follows : 

Tangaloa, their great god, who lives in the sky, sent down the bird 
Tuli (a kind of snipe), his daughter, to look what was below. She 
reported to her father that she saw nothing but sea. Tangaloa then 
rolled a stone from heaven, which became the island of Savaii, and 
another which produced Upolu, and the same for the others. 

This did not suit Tuli, who returned to ask for inhabitants. He 
gave her orders to plant the wild vines (fuefue), which after growing 
were ordered by him to be pulled up and thrown into heaps, from 
which worms were produced. Then it was desirable that they should 
become human. Spirits were accordingly sent to them by Tuli, and 
the worms became man and woman. 

Their notions of a future existence are quite vague. They believe, 
however, in a happy future state, where every thing good is provided. 
Some say that it is on their own island, others on distant islands, and 
for the chiefs at the residence of the gods on Pulotu, an island to the 
westward. They also believe that the spirit goes there immediately 
after death; that in these places it never rains; that they eat and 
drink there without labour, and are waited upon by the most beau- 
tiful women, who are always young, or as a chief expressed it to one 
of our officers, " whose breasts never hang down." 

The spirits, according to their belief, often come down to wander 
about at night around their former dwellings; some spirits are be- 
lieved to die, while others are immortal ; some dwell in subterranean 
abodes, and are eaten by the gods. Some persons believe that after 
death they become "aitus," or inferior gods. 

They believed in many omens, which were carefully watched. If 
the black stork, called matuu, flew before them on a war expedition, 
in the direction they were going, they deemed it betokened success ; 
but if in any other direction, it was an ill omen. If a dim moon, or 
very bright starlight, or comet, were observed, it always indicated the 
death of a chief; and a rainbow was a sign of war. 

The squeaking of rats was an unfortunate omen. Sneezing was 


also considered unlucky ; if any one of a party sneezed on a journey, 
their further progress was postponed. 

I was told that the Samoans have a great dread of being abroad in 
the dark, and that when obliged to pass about their villages by night, 
the}' use flambeaux made of the dried stalks of the cocoa-nut leaf to 
light them on their way. This fear is partly owing to superstition, 
which makes them fearful of encountering some spirit or aitu with 
which their imaginations people the groves, springs, rocks, trees, &c. 
They are in the habit of occasionally making a feast for the king's 
aitu, when a number of pigs are prepared, and a quantity of taro, 
fruit, &c, is gathered. The portion for the aitu is placed near his 
supposed dwelling-place, and the dependants and others enjoy them- 
selves on the remainder. 

Thej^ were formerly in the habit of presenting their first fruits to 
the aitus and chiefs. This custom still continues amonsr the heathen, 
but the Christian party present theirs to the missionaries. The 
ceremony usually takes place in January or February. In drinking 
ava, the first cup was always presented to the gods. 

There is an account of a large lizard which dwells on the south 
side of the island, and is worshipped as an aitu. The description 
given of it makes it two fathoms long and as large round as a 
cocoa-nut tree, with huge scales, and a mouth filled with sharp 
teeth. It is said to dwell in a stream near Safata, into which 
the natives frequently throw meat. Some of them declare that 
they have seen him, and that he has dwelt there upwards of fifty 

It is not remarkable, however, that they should have this tradition ; 
and this circumstance affords an additional proof that they have had 
frequent intercourse with the Tonga, or Friendly Islands, where a 
similar tradition is spoken of in Mariner's Tonga Islands. 

Among their other superstitions is that of a malignant spirit that 
resides in the vicinity of Apolima, in the shape of an enormous eel, 
of from six to ten fathoms long, and large in proportion, which 
attacks canoes and drags them down. 

A story is told that is said to have happened only a few years ago. 
While two natives of Manono were swimming across the channel in 
the reef, they were drowned in the sight of many others ; immediately 
a large canoe was manned, and went in quest of them ; the crew of 
this canoe encountered the monster, and wounded it. The canoe 


was upset, and although a few saved themselves by swimming to the 
shore, the greater part of them were destroyed. When asked if it 
was not a shark, (of which they have two kinds, the tanifa or great 
white shark, and the masi, or small blue one), they replied, it was 
a monstrous pasi, which is the name applied to the muroena or 
conger eel. 

Their dances and other amusements are in a great degree abolished, 
but they are still practised in the heathen villages, and even the 
Christian women may still be induced to exhibit the former, which 
they call siva. The mode of performing it differs from that of the 
Tahitians, but is like it lascivious, and neither of them would be 
called dances in our sense of the term. The dance is usually per- 
formed by young girls, who stand up before the audience throwing 
their arms, legs, feet, and hands, in numerous strange attitudes, 
which are any thing but graceful. The others who are present sing 
amusing words, in two or three parts, while a third or fourth part is 
kept up in a coarse grunt or guttural sound, in the bass clef. The 
words are comprised in short sentences, each of which finishes sud- 
denly with a staccato note, and a violent gesture. The music of one 
of the dances at Tutuila was as follows : 

- 1 N^N ^ Nfr 

SSwfafi-"? =^F^ =r«EF 







The females, unlike those of Tahiti, have not many musical voices 
among them, but in common with other uncivilized races, have a 
perfect knowledge of time. 

The men, on the contrary, produce round rich sounds, rather 
below tenor, but as wild as nature would have them to be. 

The dance of the girls at Upolu consisted entirely of motions of 
the body, and was so indelicate as to produce disgust. The chaunt 
which accompanied it was sung with a high voice, and three or four 
women were employed in beating time on the mats with short sticks, 
in which most of the spectators joined with their hands. In all cases 
they kept time with the greatest accuracy. 

The Samoan drum is made of a part of a tree, hollowed out ; they 
have also an instrument formed of a loose slat, fitted into a board, on 
which they beat time with two sticks. Their flute, if it may be so 

vol. ii. 30 



called, is made of bamboo, as are also their pipes, which resemble 
those of Pan. 

The dances of the men are by no means indecorous. Those who 
perform them vary in number from two to a dozen, and are divided 
into two parties. These parties alternately advance and retreat, 
which gives an appearance of animation. Clapping their hands, 
swinging them to and fro, or clasping them over their heads, they 
follow each other in a circle, leaping up and down, and turning 
suddenly around, keeping time to the music. The dances continue 
a considerable time, and end with a sudden clap of the hands and a 
simultaneous shout. 

The music to which they danced in Upolu, was as follows : 

First Voice? 

The song is usually extemporaneous, relating to some recent occur- 
rence. The following is a translation of one of them, obtained by 
Mr. Couthouy through one of the interpreters. 

The Papalangi lias come to Samoa, 

The Papalangi has come to Vaiusu, 

Let us all go down to the spring. 

The Papalangi is fond of the Siva. 

Where is the pig 1 Where is the fattened fowl 1 

The Papalangi cannot join in the Siva. 

Kindle up a bright blaze ! Where are the virgins ? 

I am going to get some cocoa-nuts. 

Look at this Samoan, how finely he dances ! 

These dances are usually performed in the fale-tele, where stran- 



gers are entertained. The inhabitants and their guests occupy 
different ends of the building, and alternately keep up the dancing 
and singing. Through the latter all the news is made known, 
occurrences related, inquiries made and answered. 

Many of the nights are spent in this way ; and much of the day- 
time, in eating, bathing, and sleeping. 

Besides these dances, there are various games. One of these, 
called "lupe," is played by two persons, who sit opposite each other. 
One of them presents his closed fist to his opponent, and then rapidly 
holds up one, two, three, or all the fingers and the thumb, striking 
the back of his hand on the mat at the same time. If his opponent 
fails of instantly holding up a like number of fingers, he loses a 
point, and ten points finish the game. 

" Lafo litupa" is also played by two persons, who place about 
fifty beans of the Mimosa scandium before them ; then taking up 
four at a time, they throw them up in the air, and catch them on 
the back of the hand ; the player who catches a hundred soonest is 
the winner. 

Tuae-fua. This is played by five or six persons. It resembles the 
sport of the Chinese jugglers with iron balls. The first player some- 
times takes as many as eight oranges, throwing them successively 
into the air, and endeavours to keep the whole in motion at once. 
They are very dexterous at this : if they miss three times, the game 
is lost. 

Tui-muri affords the natives much amusement. Any number of 
persons may play at it. They seat themselves in a circle, and divide 
into two parties. An orange is suspended from above, about two feet 
from the ground, and each person is supplied with a small sharp- 
pointed stick. The orange is swung round, and as it passes, each 
one endeavours to pierce it, some with great eagerness, others quite 
calmly, and others again with a wary coolness, all of which affords 
much amusement to the bystanders. The party wins who first 
succeeds in fairly hitting the orange fifty times. 

It is played for mats, trinkets, &c, but more generally for a baked 
pig, which is eaten when the play is over. 

Litia. This is a general sport, sometimes whole villages playing 
against each other ; it is in fact an exercise in spear-throwing. Two 
parties furnish themselves with light sticks of the Hibiscus tiliaceus, 
about eight or ten feet long and as thick as a finger. The bark is 
stripped off, which makes them very light. The two parties arrange 



themselves in a line, and strive to throw these as far as possible ; the 
party which succeeds in throwing fifty the farthest wins the game. 
The usual distance to which they are thrown is about forty yards, 
and one would conceive it almost impossible for them to be thrown so 
far. A grand feast usually terminates the sport, which the losing 
party pays for. 

" Lafe," is a game confined to the chiefs, who play it for pastime. 
Four persons sit at the corners of a mat, ten or twelve feet long, in 
whose centre is placed another of ten inches square ; the persons at 
opposite corners are partners ; each party is provided with five circular 
pieces of cocoa-nut shells, from two inches in diameter to half a cocoa- 
nut. The first player lays his smallest piece on the little mat, and 
his opponent tries to knock it off, and leave his own in its place. 
Each in his turn endeavours to knock their opponent's pieces off. 
The party which first succeeds in knocking its opponent's pieces off 
one hundred times, wins the game. The pieces of cocoa-nut are 
finely polished and carved with a variety of devices. 

Sham club-fights and wrestling-matches are common, and fre- 
quently end in broken heads, limbs, and teeth knocked out. 


.- - „ - 

An odd amusement of the natives was seen in the forest, in one of 
the clearings near one of the heathen villages, and at a short distance 
from Apia, (the vignette gives a good idea of it.) A fine large tree 


had been lopt of its branches (except at the very top), for a mast; 
around this a framework of timber, after the model of a vessel, was 
constructed ; all the timbers were carefully fastened together with 
sinnet, and with the requisite curvature; from the bow a large and 
long piece of timber projected, and at the stern a rudder was con- 
trived, with its tiller ; but instead of its ordinary movements as with 
us, it was intended to act vertically, in the way to which they are 
accustomed in manaonng or steering- their lame canoes with an oar ; 
vines and creepers were used for the rigging ; ballast had likewise 
been placed in the hold. 

This afforded them great amusement, and showed an ingenuity in 
the construction of this Papalangi ship, as they called it, which had 
cost them much time and laboiir. 

There is no ceremony at births, or indeed any inconvenience. The 
mother generally proceeds immediately to the spring, bathes and 
washes her infant, and at the same time her usual occupations are 
resumed. The naming of the child frequently takes place some time 
before its birth, for sex makes no difference in the names, which are 
given indiscriminately to males and females. 

The mothers often suckle their children until they are six years 
old ; and I was told of an instance where a woman gave nourishment 
to three children of different ages at once, the eldest removing the 
youngest sometimes by force from the mother's breast. 

It is their practice to wash the children frequently in the fresh- 
water streams. 

When a native wishes to get a wife, the consent of the chief is first 
obtained. Then he takes a basket of bread-fruit, and offers it to the 
girl of his choice. His suit is considered as accepted if she partakes 
of it. He must then pay her parents a certain price for her, which 
varies with the station and ability of the parties. A chief's daughter 
is valued high, viz., at half a dozen hatchets and as many fathoms of 

Another mode of courtship is to go to the house of the object of 
attachment or desire, and be entertained. If the' family show a 
friendly feeling towards the young man and eat with him, his 
addresses are favourably received. The formal offer is made by a 
large present to the family of the female, which being accepted, the 
match is made, and if refused, the courtship is at an end. The 
parents expect their children to abide by their decision. The 
" Malo" party have been in the habit of taking wives from their 

vol. ii. 37 


conquered enemies when they thought proper. At a marriage cere- 
mony a great feast is made, particularly if it be a chief's. 

A man is at liberty to repudiate his wife and marry again on 
certain conditions, but the woman cannot leave her husband without 
his consent. 

Adultery was formerly punished with death, and is very seldom 
committed. Among single women, intercourse with a Samoan 
before marriage, is a reproach, but not with transient foreigners. 

It is a common practice for parents to make a present of their 
children to chiefs or others, who adopt the child as their own, and 
treat it ever after as such. After it is grown up, one-half of its earn- 
ings goes to its adopted parent. This custom gives the chiefs many 
adopted children of both sexes, who continue to live with them, and 
are in all respects treated as their own ; and spreads their connexions 
far and wide. 

In their burials at Upolu, they have but little ceremony. The 
body is enveloped in many folds of tapa, and deposited, as has 
already been described at Tutuila, with the Ti planted around. No 
utensils, arms, &c, are deposited with the bodies; for, according to 
their belief, they have these things provided for them in their 
Elysium. A feast is made for the attendants, consisting of pigs, taro, 
bread-fruit, &c. ; presents are made by all the relatives to the family 
of the deceased, and if the family can afford it, a small canoe is 
procured for a coffin. After the body has lain in the grave some 
time, they take up the skull and place it in a box in their houses. 
The reason assigned for this is to prevent their enemies from possess- 
ing themselves of it, for it was a custom in their wars to violate the 
sanctity of the grave. We heard that a few of the bodies of chiefs 
had been preserved by oil and heat ; and the missionaries informed 
me that they had seen the bodies of those who died thirty or forty 
years before, preserved in this manner. 

Their mode of showing their grief is to burn themselves to 
blisters, (forming indelible marks,) with little rolls of twisted tapa, 
which, on being lighted, soon produced a coal. They also scratch 
their bodies. The females are said (in token of affliction for deceased 
friends) to have pricked holes in the corpse, and sucked out the 
fluids. All these practices may be now said to be passing away, and 
are almost obliterated. 

There is already a very great difference not only in dress, but in 
appearance, between those who have adopted Christianity, and those 


who adhere to heathenism. The latter have a wild look, to which 
their long hair, tied in a bunch behind, adds not a little, and when 
going to war they let it hang down in wild confusion, which increases 
their savage appearance. 


On the other hand, the Christians crop their hair short, a fashion 
which was introduced by the missionaries. 

The hair of the children is cropped close, except a lock on each 
side of the head. The manners of the people in the Christian and 
heathen villages are as different as their appearance. In the latter 
no schools are seen, nor any of the incipient marks of civilization. 
Their reception of strangers in the Christian villages is always kind 
and hospitable, although, as has been stated, a return is looked for. 
Among the heathen, the manner of reception cannot be counted upon 
with certainty, for they at one time welcome their visiters with cor- 
diality, and at another are rude, insolent, and anxious to obtain all the 
strangers possess. When in good humour, they entertain their guests 
with the lascivious dances we have described, performed by native 
girls. Their whole manner and conduct are so different from those of 
villages within a short distance of them, that the effect produced on 
the latter by the instruction of the missionaries, appears almost 

In the heathen villages the dress of the Samoans is to be seen in 
its primitive simplicity. It is no more than the titi, which is a short 
apron and girdle of the leaves of the ti (Dracsena), tied around the 
loins and falling down to the thighs. The women besmear them- 
selves with cocoa-nut oil mixed with turmeric, which gives them a 
shining yellow tint, that is considered as a beauty. On each breast a 
spot of reddish brown, of a singular shape, and of various sizes, from 


that of a dollar to that of a dessert-plate. They do not show the least 
sign of feminine bashfulness, while those of the Christian villages 
cover their bosoms, and exhibit as much modesty as those of any 

During the last ten years the dress of the natives has undergone 
much change ; the titi has been increased in length, and extends all 
round the body ; it has a neat and pretty effect when first put on, but 
requires renewing often, as the leaves wilt in a few days; this 
garment is well adapted to the climate, being cool, and the necessity 
of frequent change insures cleanliness. 

The Wesleyan missionaries from the Friendly Islands have intro- 
duced the siapo of Tonga, which has now come into common use. It 
is soft, pliable, and not glazed, and is principally used as a wrapper, 
after the manner of the pareu of the Tahiti Islanders. A piece of 
cotton cloth is usually worn by the chiefs as a siapo. 

The maro is worn when engaged in active exercise, or in war, as 
being less cumbrous. The women often wear a beautifully white 
shaggy mat (ie sina), hanging from the neck to the feet. It is woven 
by hand from the fine threads of the Hibiscus ; they also sometimes 
wear wrappers of the siapo form, and the tiputa, a kind of poncho, of 
the same material, after the old fashion of the Tahitians, which is 
more becoming than the loose gown introduced into that island by 
the missionaries. 

There is another kind of mat, of very fine texture, worn on great 
occasions, and used in their dances as a kind of cloak. It is orna- 
mented with a border of red feathers. This is the most valuable 



property they possess, for they cost much pains to the manufacturers, 
and are often a year or eighteen months in their hands. 

In the way of ornaments they use but few. The men usually 
wear a shell (the ovula) suspended around the neck by a string. 

Their hair formerly claimed much of their attention, as it does still 
that of the heathen, who, as has been seen, wear it long and have it 
nicely combed and twisted up in a knot on the top of the head. The 
females frequently used to wear a wreath of flowers, which gave 
them a picturesque and pleasant appearance ; but the use of flowers 
as ornaments has been interdicted by the missionary teachers. 

Tattooing, if not in reality, at least in appearance, may be said to 
form a part of dress. It is performed by persons who make it a 
regular business. The age at which it takes place 
is from fourteen to eighteen, and is usually con- 
sidered the initiation to manhood. The usual 
colouring matter is obtained from the kernel of 
the candle-nut. Tattooing is here called ta-ta-tan, 
and is tastefully drawn. The natives are very 
fond of it. It is expensive to the family, for the 
operator always receives a high price for his la- 
bour, consisting of the finest mats, siapo, and other 
property, as agreed upon before the operation is 
begun. The instrument used is made of bone, 
sharp like the teeth of a comb, and requires but 
a slight blow to enter the skin. The part tattooed 
on the males is from the loins to the thighs, but the women have 
only a few lines on their hands and bodies. 

The articles of which their dress is composed are manufactured by 
the females, who are exceedingly industrious. The common cloth or 
tapa is made of the inner bark of the paper-mulberry, which is culti- 
vated for the purpose in nurseries. It is cut when the stem is about 
one and a half inches in diameter ; the inner bark is separated and 
washed in water, which deprives it of some of its gum ; it is then 
beaten until the adhesion of the fibres forms many of the strips into 
a single mass. The mallet used for this purpose is about two inches 
square, and about fourteen inches long, with a handle at one end ; two 
of its faces are grooved and the other two smooth ; the bark is laid 
on a board, and struck with the mallet in a direction at right angles 
with its fibres ; the grooved sides are used to spread out the fibres, 

vol. ii. 38 


and the smooth ones to knit them together. The grooves also give 
a thready appearance to the surface. 

This method differs from that practised at Tahiti, where the bark 
is beaten with a smaller mallet, upon a spring-board ; and the tapa 
made here is of inferior quality. The tapa is often printed with 
colours in patterns. This is performed in a mode similar to that 
practised in Europe before the introduction of copper rollers. In- 
stead of engraved blocks, they form tablets, about as thick as binders' 
boards, of pieces of large cocoa-nut leaves, by sewing them together. 
One side of the tablet is kept smooth and even, and upon this cocoa- 
nut fibres are sewed so as to form the required pattern, which is of 
course raised upon the surface of the tablet. These tablets are wet 
with a piece of cloth well soaked in the dye, after which the tapa, 
which for this purpose is well bleached and beautifully white, is laid 
upon them and pressed into close contact. The dye is made from 
herbs and roots, and is of various colours. 

The women also manufacture the mats. Some of these have been 
mentioned in describing the dress of the natives ; the finest kinds are 
made of the inner bark of the paper-mulberry ; those of coarser 
texture of the leaves of the Pandanus, which are nicely scraped 
and bleached. The mats are all made by hand, and by interlacing 
the fibres ; one of the finest description will require the industrious 
labour of a year. 

Among the mats are some of as fine a texture and as soft as if 
made of cotton. These are rarely or never manufactured at present, 
and are solely possessed by the chiefs, in whose family they are 
handed down from father to son, as heir-looms. They are considered 
as their choicest treasures, and are so much coveted, that wars have 
been made to obtain possession of them. For the latter reason they 
are called Fala-taua. 

There are several distinct trades among the men besides that of 
tattooing. Among the most esteemed is that of canoe-building, in 
which there is no little skill displayed. 

The usual fishing-canoe is made of a single tree with a small out- 
rigger to balance it. They have no large double canoes, such as are 
seen in Tonga and Feejee. 

The largest canoes are from thirty to sixty feet long, and capable 
of carrying from ten to twelve persons. They are formed of several 
pieces of plank, fastened together with sinnet. These pieces are of no 
regular size or shape. On the edge of each plank is a ledge or pro- 




jection, which serves to attach the sinnet, and to connect and bind it 
closely to the adjoining one. It is surprising to see the 
labour bestowed on uniting so many small pieces, where 
large and good planks might be obtained. Before the pieces 
are joined, the gum from the bark of the bread-fruit tree 
is used to cement them close and prevent leakage. These 
canoes retain their form much more truly than one would 
have supposed, and I saw few whose original model had 
been impaired by service. On the outside, the pieces are 
so closely fitted as frequently to require close examination 
before the seams can be detected. This perfection of work- 
manship is astonishing to those who see the tools with which 
it is executed. They are now made of no more than a piece of iron 
tied to a stick, and used as an adze. This, with a gimlet, is all they 
have, and before they obtained these iron tools, they used adzes made 
of hard stone or fish-bones. These canoes are built with a deck 
forward and aft. They are long and narrow, and their shape is 
elegant. They are paddled by natives who sit two abreast, and are 
guided by a steersman. The seat of honour is on the forward deck, in 
the centre of which is a row of pegs, to which the large white ovula 


shell is attached by way of ornament. The natives find no difficulty 
in occupying this place, as they manage to sit in almost any position 
with ease to themselves ; but a stranger who attempts it, and is for 
any time confined to one of these places of honour, will repent of the 
distinction he enjoys before many minutes are over. One of our 
gentlemen was treated with this distinction, and will long recollect 
the words of the song they sing. 

" Lelei tusilava le tau mua, 
Leango tusilava le tau muri." 


" Good above all is the part before, 
Bad above all is the part behind." 

The uneasiness, from his account, does not only proceed from the 
small place left to sit upon, but also from the constant apprehension 
of being precipitated into the sea. This Faa Samoa, or Samoan 
fashion, is any thing but agreeable. 

Having both a prow and stern, these canoes cannot be manoeuvred 
without tacking; consequently the out-rigger, that constitutes their 
safety, is, in using their sail, alternately to leeward and windward, and 
does not, when to leeward, add much to the stability of the canoe. 
They carry less sail than the canoes of the other natives of Polynesia, 
and to guard against the danger of upsetting, the natives rig a sprit 
or boom (suati), projecting from the opposite side to that on which the 
out-rigger is fitted. This boom is secured with guys to the top of the 
mast. When the wind blows fresh, some of the men go out upon it, 
and thus balance or counteract the force of the wind. Those on the 
other side of the canoe are kept ready to go out on the out-rigger when 
that becomes necessary. The sail is made of a mat, of a triangular 
shape, with its apex below : some of these are ten feet high. 

None of the canoes we saw at the Samoan Group are calculated 
for long voyages. Those used in their intercourse with the Tonga 
Islands, are the large double Feejee canoe, of which I shall speak 
when I treat of those islanders. 

In their trips from town to town, they are generally in parties of 
pleasure, termed malanga, and are frequently to be met with singing 
their boat-songs. 

These songs have but little variety, are destitute of melody, and 
have small pretensions to harmony. They consist, for the most part, 
of two short strains, repeated alternately, the first by a single indi- 
vidual, at the second by several. Their voices are loud, and have 
generally a tenor character ; the strains are mostly in the minor scale, 
and sung in the key of two or three flats. 

The following boat-songs will give an idea of them : 

First Voice. 

— D —\ — -i-t \i 1 -j-i — i— {-, — -<-+\ 9\y- i — ;j-j- 

Fo - fa - e Fo - fa - e. 

Second Voice. 

5- °-i — \— \\ • \m-m-9-m-\\ — »\ — i — j-i 9\ 0-0-0 -i|-f- 

na - agi le foe na ogi - le. 




First Voice. 




»-- H — • — 0-0 — h 


Second Voice. 

— bn — 

te ta - ma - 1 

le fou aue 

:- p-r — i: 



- E — —--i — 0\0-0-0-0\\ — 0-0-\-\ 

— 0-\0 — — — 0-f 


Au ta - Ha 

Tute ta - mai le fou aue 


- a 1 0-\ 



■ r~ 

0f0-0-0-0f\ 0-\ — w 

Au ta • na - lo 

" Cook* tells you pull away, 
I will do so, and so must you." 

The work in which the Samoans show their greatest ingenuity, is 
in the construction of their native houses, and particularly of their 
fale-teles or council-houses, some of which are of large dimensions. 
They are built of the wood of the bread-fruit tree, and there are two 
modes in use, their own, and that borrowed from the Friendly Islands. 
The true Samoan is slightly oval, those of the Friendly Islands 
are oblong. They may be said to consist of three parts, the centre 
and two ends; the former is erected first. For this purpose the three 
centre posts, which are twenty-five or thirty feet high, are usually 
first raised ; on these rests the ridge-pole. A staging or scaffolding is 
now erected nearly in the form of the roof, which serves for ladders 
and to support the roof temporarily. The roof is commenced at the 
ridge-pole and is worked downwards. The cross-beams are lashed in 
at different heights, connecting the centre portions of the roof together, 
and are fastened to the upright centre posts. The rafters are made 
of short pieces, placed at equal distances apart, and form the curve 
that is required to construct the roof. Between the largest rafters are 
smaller ones, about one foot apart. Across the rafters are placed and 
fastened many small rods, about an inch in diameter. The whole is 
neatly thatched with the sugar-cane or Pandanus leaves, and the 

* All the natives have some knowledge of Captain Cook, derived from their commu- 
nication with the Friendly Islands. 

vol. ii. 39 



rafters are terminated by a wall-piece, made of short pieces of wood, 
fastened together and to the rafters, so as to form the ellipse required 
for the roof. The end portions, of similar small pieces, are made to 
correspond to the required curvature of the roof and the ellipse of the 
wall-plate. Posts are now placed in the ground, about three feet 
apart, to receive the wall-piece, which is fastened to their tops. There 
is no fastening used but sinnet, made of cocoa-nut fibres. The rafters 
are generally made of the Hibiscus, which is light and strong. The 
eaves extend about a foot beyond the posts. The smaller houses 
generally have permanent sides, the larger ones are open all around, 
but mats are hung up as curtains by the occupants, and any part 
may be used as a door. 



After the whole is finished, the interior has the appearance of an 
extensive framework, from the number of cross-beams, which are 
used as depositories for their pi'operty, tapas, mats, &c. ; and in some 
cases the favourite canoe of the chiefs is placed on them. After a 
full inspection of one of these fabrics, one cannot but view these 
natives not only as industrious, but as possessing great skill and 
ingenuity. The thatching lasts four or five years. There is no floor 
to the house, but the ground is covered with stones about the size of a 
small egg. There is usually a paved platform on the outside, about 
three feet wide. In some cases this is raised a foot, and serves to 
keep the house dry, as the stones allow a free passage to water. On 
the pavement are laid coarse mats, and the finer ones are spread 
above, covering about half the area. 

These fine mats are rolled up until required. Many baskets hang 
here and there, with some cocoa-nut shells to contain water, and the 
ava bowl. Mats are suspended about as screens. At night, each 
sleeper is usually supplied with a musquito-curtain, called tai-namu, 


which, forming a kind of tent, by being passed over a ridge-pole or 
rope, and falling on the ground, answers all the purposes required.* 

On one, and sometimes on both sides of the centre-post of the 
houses, is a small circular hearth, enclosed by stones of larger size ; 
this is the place for burning the dried leaves of the cocoa-nut, which 
serve them for light at night. Although these do not give out much 
smoke, yet as they burn for a long time, the house gradually becomes 
filled with soot, for there is no outlet above for its escape, f 

As they always use the flambeau to light them on their return 
from their feasts, it produces a singular and pretty effect to see an 
assembly breaking up, and the different parties winding through the 
groves with torches, throwing the whole into bold relief. A rude 
lamp is also used, made of a cocoa-nut shell, with a little oil in it, and 
a piece of vine-stalk for a wick, and likewise the nut of the Aleurites 
triloba, or candle-nut, several of which are strung on a thin stick. 

Many white-washed houses are now to be seen, for the natives 
have been taught the use of lime by the missionaries, and are 
beoinninff to use it in their dwellings. All the missionaries' houses 
have plastered walls, and board floors, and are very comfortable. 
There is a great quantity of fine timber on these islands, for building 
purposes. The timber of the bread-fruit tree and Hibiscus, are alone 
made use of by the natives. The missionaries have their planks or 
boards sawed by hand, and generally by foreign carpenters. 

The food of the Samoans is prepared in the way practised at 
Tahiti, and generally consists of bread-fruit, bananas, taro, sweet- 
potatoes, and yams. Fish is supplied in quantities from the reef, and 
they also eat the large chestnut, vi-apple, and arrow-root, the fecula 
of which they begin to manufacture in some quantities. Although it 
would scarcely be supposed necessary, where every thing is so 
bountifully supplied by nature, yet they make provision for times of 
scarcity and for their voyages, of the bread-fruit, made when green 
into a kind of paste, and rolled in banana-leaves. This undergoes a 
partial fermentation, and is called Mahi. It is not unlike half-baked 
dough, and has a sour unwholesome taste. They eat birds, &c, but 
a large wood-maggot which is found on the trees, is looked upon as 
the most delicious food they have. 

* Musquitoes are exceedingly annoying to strangers, but I did not remark that the 
natives were troubled with them. Their bodies being well oiled is a great preservation 
against the bites of these insects. 

f The prevalence of sore eyes is said to be owing to the smoke of the lamps. 


They have much variety in their cooking, and some of their dishes 
are exceedingly rich and agreeable to the taste. They practise 
several modes of cooking the taro tops ; one, by tying them up with 
cocoa-nut pulp and baking them, in which state they resemble 
spinach cooked with cream, but are sweeter. Another dish is called 
faiai, made of the scraped and strained cocoa-nut pulp boiled down 
to the consistency of custard. It is eaten both hot and cold. 

The habits of the Samoans are regular. They rise with the sun, 
and immediately take a meal. They then bathe and oil themselves, 
and go to their occupations for the day. These consist in part of the 
cultivation of taro and yams ; building houses and canoes. Many 
fish ; others catch birds, for which purpose they use nets affixed to 
long poles. They generally find enough to employ the mornings, in 
getting their daily supply. After this is done, they lounge about, or 
play at their various games, eat about one o'clock, and again at night, 
retiring to rest about nine o'clock. The men do all the hard work, 
even to cookery. 

The women are held in much consideration among this people, are 
treated with great attention, and are not suffered to do any thing but 
what rightfully belongs to them. They take care of the house, and 
of their children, prepare the food for cooking, do all the in-door work, 
and manufacture the mats and tapa. 

They are cleanly in their habits, and bathe daily ; after which they 
anoint themselves with oil and turmeric. This custom, I have no 
doubt tends to preserve the health, by preventing the excessive per- 
spiration which the heat of the climate naturally brings on. It is, 
however, at times offensive, for the oil is apt to become rancid. 

The Samoans are of a social disposition, more so, indeed, than 
the other natives of the Polynesian islands, and they are fond of 
travelling. The reasons they have for taking these journeys are 
various : thus, when there is a scarcity of food in one part, or a 
failure of the crops, they are in the habit of making a " faatamilo," 
or circuit, around a portion of these islands, so that by the time they 
return, (which is at the expiration of three months,) their own taro 
has grown and the bread-fruit season come aroiuid. They are now 
in their turn prepared to afford the same hospitality and accommo- 
dation to others. The old people are usually left at the village to 
take care of it, whilst the younger portions are gone on one of these 
malangas, or journeys. During these expeditions, a sort of trade is 
frequently carried on. The different portions of the inhabitants are 


each celebrated for a particular staple. Some excel in making mats ; 
others in building canoes ; the districts in which the seaports are, 
obtain a variety of articles from ships, which are subsequently dis- 
tributed over the whole group. 

It may readily be supposed that there are many circumstances 
which make this mode of communication inconvenient, particularly 
when the travelling party is a large one, in which case it absolutely 
breeds a famine in its progress. 

I have before stated that every -village has its " fale-tele," which is 
the property of the chief. In this their " fonos" or councils are held, 
and it is also the place where strangers are received. The mode of 
receiving visiters is attended with much ceremony. A party enters 
the village without inquiring where or how they are to be enter- 
tained, and take up their quarters in the " fale-tele." In a short time 
the chief and principal personages collect and visit the strangers, 
telling them in a set speech the pleasure they enjoy at their arrival, 
and their delight to entertain them. This is mostly said in what 
they term " tala-gota," the speech of the lips, and much compli- 
mentary language ensues. The Samoan language abounds in 
phrases adapted to this use, and worthy of a refined people. 

After this interchange of compliments, the young women assemble 
to treat the strangers to "ava." This is prepared after the usual 
mode, by chewing the Piper mythisticum. During this time the 
young men are employed collecting and cooking food. This is all 
done with great despatch. The pigs are killed ; the taro collected ; 
the oven heated ; and baskets made to hold the viands. In the feast 
they are well assured of sharing, and therefore have a strong stimulus 
to exertion. 

The strangers, on receiving the food, always return part of it to 
the entertainers. Thus all the village is occupied with the entertain- 
ment, and a scene of frolicking ensues until the strangers see fit to 
take their departure. 

Among the Heathen, dancing during the evening always follows 
this feast ; but the Christian villages have abolished all dancing. 

These visits are not always paid or received in a spirit of hospi- 
tality. The chief of a powerful district takes this mode to exact 
tribute from his less powerful neighbours, and they are on such 
occasions extremely overbearing and insolent to their entertainers. 

For crimes, they have many forms of punishment, among which 
are : expulsion from the village in which the offender resides ; expo- 

vol. 11. 40 


sure of the naked body to the sun ; flogging ; cutting off the ears 
and nose ; confiscation of property ; and the compulsory eating of 
noxious herbs. 

When a murder has been committed, the friends of the person 
slain unite to avenge his death ; and the punishment does not fall 
upon the guilty party alone, but on his friends and relatives, who with 
their property are made the subjects of retaliation. If any delay in 
seeking redress in this manner occurs, it is received as an intimation 
that the injured party, whether the family, the friends, the village, or 
whole district to which the murdered person belonged, are willing to 
accept an equivalent for the wrong they have sustained. The 
friends of the murderer then collect what they hope may be suffi- 
cient to avert retribution, and a negotiation is entered into to fix the 
amount of compensation. When this is agreed upon, it is offered to 
the nearest relative of the deceased, and the parties who present it 
perform at the same time an act of submission, by prostrating them- 
selves before him. This closes the affair. 

For some crimes nothing but the death of the offender could atone. 
Among these was adultery ; and when the wives of chiefs eloped 
with men of another district, it generally produced a war. This 
was one of the causes of the wars waged by Malietoa. 

There existed, however, means by which the code was rendered 
less bloody, in places of refuge for offenders, such as the tombs of 
chiefs, which were held sacred and inviolate. 

Wars were frequent among the Samoans before the introduction of 
the gospel, and scarcely a month passed without quarrels being 
avenged, and with blows. The last and perhaps the most bloody 
war that has ever occurred on these islands, was about the time of 
the first visit of Mr. Williams, the missionary, in 1830, when the in- 
habitants of one of the finest districts, that of Aana, in the western 
part of Upolu, were almost exterminated. This war continued for 
eight months, and only those were saved who escaped to the olos, or 
inaccessible places of refuge, or were protected by the " Malo," the 
ruling or conquering party. 

When the missionaries arrived in 1836, and for upwards of a 
year afterwards, Aana was without a single inhabitant; but through 
their influence upon the Malo party, it was agreed at a large 
"fono" to restore the exiles to their lands. Aana is again (in 1839) 
the finest part of the island, and will be in a few years quite a 


These wars, like those of all savage people, were attended with 
great cruelty, and neither old nor young of either sex were spared. 
It is related that after the last battle in Aana, a fire was kept burning 
for several days, into which hundreds of women and children were 

Their wars were seldom carried on in open fight, but stratagem 
was resorted to, and all enemies that could be attacked were killed, 
whether in their houses, or when accidentally met with at their work 
in the taro patches. 

Their arms consisted of clubs and spears, made of the iron-wood 
(Casuarina), bows and arrows, and of late years the musket. The 
man who could ward off a blow and at the same time inflict a wound 
on his adversary, was considered the best warrior. Each village had 
its separate commander, and there was no general, their operations 
being from time to time decided in council. Their spears were 
pointed with the sting of the ray-fish, which, on breaking off in the 
body, caused certain death. 

The olos, above mentioned, were usually on the top of some high 
rock, or almost inaccessible mountain, where a small force cotild 
protect itself from a larger one. One of these olos, or strongholds, of 
the people of Aana, during the late war, was on a high perpendicular 
ridge, which forms the western boundary of the bay of Faleletai, 
and it was the scene of many a bloody contest. The Manono people, 
coming by night, would land at the foot of the hill, and attempt its 
ascent, while those on the top would roll and hurl down stones, 
generally overcoming them with ease, and driving the invaders back 
with great slaughter. The latter, however, took a fearful and truly 
savage revenge for their various defeats. Laying in wait until the 
women came down to fish on the reefs, they set upon them, and 
massacred them all. The burning of houses, the destruction of the 
bread-fruit, cocoa-nut trees, taro patches, and yam grounds, &c, were 
the ordinary features of these conflicts. 

Prisoners were sometimes spared, but they were usually held as 
subjects of retaliation, in case of any of the adverse party being 

Upon the occurrence of a cause of war, the parties sent to their 
respective friends in the different towns to solicit their aid. Such 
solicitations usually resulted in the whole district, and sometimes the 
whole of the island, being engaged in a civil war. 

On going to war, they were acctistomed to cast their hair loose, or 


to tie it up in various forms, and to add to the fierceness of their 
appearance they wore large bunches of false hair, which also 
increased their apparent height. 

In making peace, the conquered party was required to make 
submission, by bringing loads of stones, fire-wood, green boughs, 
and to bow down very abjectly in the presence of the chief. They 
were also required to pay a large amount of tapa, mats, and other 

The government of the Samoans is more refined in principle than 
could well be expected. The rule of hereditary chiefs is acknow- 
ledged, and the distinction of the several classes well defined. Great 
respect is paid to the chiefs, and particularly to the "Tupu," or 
highest class. To this belong Malietoa, Pea of Manono, &c. The 
second class consists of the near relatives of the first, and of others 
who have large possessions ; the third, of the petty chiefs of villages ; 
next comes the tulafales, who are a well-defined class between the 
chiefs (alii) and common people. These tulafales are proprietors of 
the soil, and householders ; they possess considerable influence, and 
act as advisers of the chiefs, and the executors of their orders. Like 
the chiefs, they derive their rank from descent. There is no distinct 
name for the common people as a class, but the chiefs in speaking of 
them always apply some opprobrious epithet. The son of a low-born 
woman by a chief ranks as a chief, although he has no authority, and 
the son of a noble woman by a man of mean birth, may be either a 
chief or a commoner. 

The lands are allotted and distinguished by known boundaries. 
The natural heir of the former owner succeeds, and is the feudal 
chief or leader in war, but all his dependants are free to cultivate it. 
Lands may be sold, which is done at public meetings, and the bar- 
gain is made binding by sticking their staves into the ground, or 
digging a portion of it up. 

The whole power lies in the high chiefs of the " Malo" or con- 
quering party. They assemble in fono, and determine the general 
laws and rules of action. At the head of this is Malietoa, who is now 
considered the head chief of Atua, and it is supposed will shortly 
acquire that of Tui of Aana. Each of these districts formerly had a 
separate chief, bearing the same title of Tui, but in their wars with 
Manono, nearly all the descendants of these princes were killed off. 
To obtain this title requires the consent of the chiefs of Manono, and 
part of Savaii, which belongs to the ruling party. 


The fono may levy what contributions it pleases, particularly on 
those they have conquered ; the present " Malo" or government is 
designated " Malo-to-toa" — the gentle government. 

Although there is no supreme authority acknowledged in any one 
individual, yet there are instances of chiefs of districts assuming and 
maintaining it. The late Tamafago, of whom some account has 
already been given, was one of these. He assumed the attributes, 
not only of a king, but of a god, and after conquering a rival district 
on Savaii, he assumed, as has been stated, the name, " O le Tupu o 
Savaii" — the king of Savaii. After he was killed, Malietoa suc- 
ceeded to the same title; but it now confers no power, and is 
considered merely as complimentary. 

Each district and town has its own government. An elderly chief 
generally presides, or is considered as the head of the village, town, 
or district. In these primary fonos or meetings, the affairs are gene- 
rally discussed by the alii (chiefs) and tulafales (landholders), and what 
they determine on is usually followed. The great fono, or general 
assembly, is seldom called, except on matters affecting the whole of 
the island or district. The subject is calmly debated, and most 
thoroughly discussed ; the final decision, however, is not by vote, but 
is adopted after consultation, and is governed by the opinions of the 
most influential chiefs. It thus appears that these assemblies have 
little influence upon the course the chiefs may have determined to 
pursue, and serve chiefly to insure the united action of the district 
in carrying the designs of the chiefs into effect. The tulu-fano, or 
decree, promulgated by the council, is to be obeyed, and those who 
fail are punished by the Malo, being plundered by them of their 
lands, &c. 

In the descent of the office of chief, the rule of primogeniture is not 
strictly followed, but the authority and title always remain in the 
same family. 

It is the custom at the fonos to compliment the head chiefs, and 
invoke blessings on them in prayers, that their lives may be pro- 
longed and prosperous. I was informed that these assemblies were 
conducted with much ceremony, but I was much disappointed in the 
one I witnessed. The forms of proceeding may, however, be different 
when strangers are not present. The fonos generally begin at an 
early hour in the morning, and last until late in the afternoon. One 
of the most pleasing of the ceremonies is that in which the chiefs are 
supplied with food during the time the meeting is in session. After 

VOL. II. 41 



the food is prepared and dished in fresh banana-leaves, the wives and 
daughters of the chiefs attire themselves in their best dresses. They 
then enter the fale-tele, and approach their fathers, husbands, and 
brothers, &c, before whom they stop, awaiting their instructions as 
to whom they shall hand the viands. When they have obeyed their 
directions, they retire. The whole duty is conducted with the utmost 
decorum, and while it is going on, no conversation is permitted except 
in a low voice. I learned from the missionaries who had attended 
some of their meetings, that their manner of speaking was good, and 
the self-possession of the orators remarkable. The speakers generally 
have persons near them who act as a sort of prompters, and remind 
them of the subjects it is desirable they should speak of. The whole 
proceedings are conducted with the utmost quiet, and no disturbance 
is allowed. 







On the 10th of November we weighed anchor from Apia, and 
made all sail to the westward; and on the 11th had lost sight of 
Savaii. Officers were stationed for the three following nights to look 
out for the periodic showers of meteors, but the nights were cloudy, 
and none were seen. 

On the 12th we made Uea or Wallis Island, and at 3 p. m. were 
off its southern end, which is situated in latitude 13° 24' S., longitude 
176° 09' 22" E. Instead of a single island, as might be expected from 
the name, there are nine separate islands, varying in circuit from one 
to ten miles, and enclosed within one extensive reef. The land is, in 
general, high. We made a running survey of this group. 

While off Wallis Island, we were boarded by a canoe, in which 
was a native who spoke a little English. I had thus the means of com- 
municating with the shore, and resolved to take advantage of it by 
landing the prisoner Tuvai. I conceived that this would accomplish 
all the ends I had in view in removing him from his native island, 
particularly as the course of the wind is such, for the greater part of 
the year, as to prevent canoes proceeding from Wallis Island to the 
Samoan Group, and there is in conseqtience no communication 
between them. His fate would of course remain a mystery to his 
countrymen, and the impression I had hoped to produce on their 
minds would be effectually made. My original intention had been 
to land him at Hoorn Island, which is two days' sail further to the 
south, but a similar opportunity might not perhaps have presented 
itself there. 

Having decided on this course, I committed him to the charge 

vol. ii. 42 


of the person who had boarded us, and gave particular directions 
that he, with his rolls of tapa, should be immediately taken and 
presented to the chief. The customs of the islanders promised that 
this would insure him good treatment, by giving him at once a 
protector ; or at least that he would be only robbed by a single per- 
son, and not exposed to the pillage of the whole population, who 
would in all probability have stripped him of his property the instant 
he landed, if not restrained by the authority of a chief. 

Tuvai seemed delighted at being released from his confinement on 
shipboard, and took his leave by shaking hands with the sentry. 
Thus while the culprit has not been exposed to any unnecessary 
severity of punishment, I feel satisfied that I fully accomplished my 
object of convincing his countrymen that they could not hope to 
commit murders upon their white visiters with impunity. 

These islands appear to be well wooded, and we saw many large 
native houses upon them. As we drew near, we perceived upon a 
rocky flat a few natives waving a white flag. The native who came 
on board informed me that the inhabitants were numerous, and that 
among them there were ten white men. 

It is said that the Catholic missionaries who were expelled from 
Tahiti were landed on this island, when the moment they reached 
the shore they were stripped of all they possessed. They, notwith- 
standing, commenced their good work, and are reported to have 
performed it effectually.* 

The entrance to the lagoon is on the south side of the group, and 
the pilot, if so he may be called, informed me that there was ample 
room for the ship to pass within the reef. Wood, water, and refresh- 
ments may be obtained here. 

Towards evening we stood on our course with a strong breeze, 
regretting that time did not permit of landing and obtaining a more 
full account of this little-known land. But the season for operating 
in high southern latitudes was rapidly approaching, and I was aware 
that, to say nothing of the extent of sea that was to be traversed, I 
must spend a considerable time at Sydney in making the necessary 
preparations for a long and arduous cruise. 

Hoorn Island was made the following day. It was discovered in 

* While in the Feejee Group, I learned that a Catholic mission had already been esta- 
blished there ; that it was prospering, and that it had already been the means of saving 
an English vessel from capture, by a timely notice to the crew. 


1616 by Schouten and Le Maire. Its highest point is two thousand 
five hundred feet above the sea ; on its northern side many rocks are 
visible, and the whole surface appears bold and precipitous, affording, 
as far as we could perceive, little soil for cultivation. Cocoa-palms 
in considerable numbers, were, however, observed upon a low point 
projecting from its southern side. 

This island is inhabited, and I have been informed that an un- 
successful attempt to establish a mission upon it was made by the 
Catholics in 1840. 

Taking our departure from Hoorn Island, we made all sail to the 
southward, passing about sixty miles to the westward of the Feejee 
Group, which was to be afterwards a subject of close examination. 
On crossing the meridian of 180° we dropped the 14th of November, 
in order to make our time correspond to that of the Eastern Hemi- 
sphere, to which our operations were for some months to be confined. 

On the 18th we saw Matthews' Rock, whose height we ascertained 
to be one thousand one hundred and eighty-six feet. It is of a 
conical shape, about a mile in circumference, and principally com- 
posed of conglomerate. A dike of basalt was observed occupying 
about a third of the width of the island. In order to obtain speci- 
mens, a boat was despatched to endeavour to effect a landing : the 
undertaking proved difficult, but was accomplished by Dr. Fox and 
Midshipman Henry, who swam through the surf. They brought off 
some specimens of porphyritic rock, and a few small crystals of 
selenite. Patches were seen on the northern side of the island ap- 
pearing as if covered with sulphur. As has been so often mentioned 
in speaking of other uninhabited islands, great numbers of birds were 
seen upon and around it. This island is in latitude 22° 27' S., longi- 
tude 172° 10' 33" E. 

For several days preceding the 18th, a current had been perceived 
setting southwest ; it was tried here, and found to set in that direction 
at the rate of three fathoms per hour. The wind began here to haul 
to the northward and eastward. 

We had the misfortune on this day to lose one of our Six's ther- 
mometers, after having made a cast of two hundred fathoms with it. 
The difference between the temperature at the surface and at that 
depth, was 14°, the former being 76°. The following day (19th), a 
cast of six hundred fathoms was made by the Peacock. The tem- 
perature below was 50°, while that at the surface was 73°. 

On the 24th we had a remarkably severe storm of thunder and 


lightning ; the ship appeared filled with the electric fluids ; the points 
of the conductors, the mastheads, and yardarms were illuminated 
with Corpo Santos; and several of the officers declared that they 
had felt electric shocks. The gale blew violently, beginning from 
the northwest, and then shifting to the southwest. During its con- 
tinuance the thermometer fell seventeen degi'ees. 

For the two following days we had head winds, and a heavy 
cross sea. 

On the 26th November we made Ball's Pyramid, which appears 
to be a barren rock rising abruptly from the sea. 

On the 24th, 25th, 26th, and 27th, we experienced a current setting 
at the rate of twenty-four miles a day to the northeast. On the 28th 
it set east-northeast at the rate of twenty-five miles per day. From 
the latter date the current began to set strongly to the southwest, 
showing that we had entered the stream which sets in that direction 
along the coast of New South Wales. 

At sunset on the 29th November, we made the light-house on the 
headland of Port Jackson. We had a fair wind for entering the 
harbour, and although the night was dark, and we had no pilot, j'et 
as it was important to avoid any loss of time, I determined to run in. 
I adopted this resolution, because, although we were all unacquainted 
with the channel, I was assured that the charts in our possession 
might be depended upon, and I stood on under a press of sail, 
accompanied by the Peacock. At 8 p. M. we found ourselves at the 
entrance of the harbour. Here a light erected on a shoal called 
the Sow and Pigs, since the publication of the charts, caused a 
momentary hesitation, but it was not long before it was determined 
where it was placed, and with this new aid, I decided to run up and 
anchor off the Cove. In this I succeeded, and the Peacock, directed 
by signal, followed the Vincennes. At half-past 10 p. m. we quietly 
dropped anchor off the Cove, in the midst of the shipping, without 
any one having the least idea of our arrival. 

When the good people of Sydney looked abroad in the morning, 
they were much astonished to see two men-of-war lying among their 
shipping, which had entered their harbour in spite of the difficulties 
of the channel, without being reported, and unknown to the pilots. 
Their streets were speedily alive with our officers and men, who were 
delighted at finding themselves once more in a civilized country, and 
one where their own language was spoken. 

The Porpoise and Flying-Fish arrived the next day. 


The morning of the 30th was beautiful, and the scene that broke 
upon us was totally unlike any we had hitherto witnessed during our 
voyage. In particular, the strong resemblance of all that we saw to 
our own homes, and the identity of language, gave us indescribable 
feelings of pleasure. 

Our consul, J. W. Williams, Esq., came early on board to wel- 
come us. He communicated the information that the Relief had 
arrived safely, and landed all our stores, which were ready for us and 
close at hand ; after which, and about ten days before our arrival, she 
had sailed for the United States. 

Our arrival was duly announced by an officer, and through him I 
was informed that the governor, Sir George Gipps, would be happy 
to receive me at eleven o'clock. In compliance with this intimation, 
I had the honour of waiting upon his excellency at that hour, in 
company with Captain Hudson, and our consul. I made my apolo- 
gies for having entered the harbour in so unceremonious a manner, 
and stated the reasons why I could not tender the customary salutes. 

The reception I met with was truly kind ; every assistance which 
lay in his power was cordially offered ; and I was assured that I had 
only to make my wants known to have them supplied. The use of 
Fort Macquarie was immediately granted me for an observatory, a 
position which, being within hail of my ship, gave me great facilities 
for conducting my experiments, and at the same time superintending 
my other duties. 

Fort Macquarie is situated on Bennilong's Point, which forms the 
eastern side of Sydney Cove; it covers about half an acre of ground, 
and is twenty feet above high-water mark; it has a few guns mounted, 
but thev are in no condition for service.* 

A few days before our arrival, it had been debated in council, 
whether more effectual means of fortification were not necessary for 
the harbour. The idea of this being wanted was ridiculed by the 
majority; but the entrance of our ships by night seems to have 
changed this opinion. Had war existed, we might, after firing the 
shipping, and reducing a great part of the town to ashes, have 
effected a retreat before daybreak, in perfect safety. f 

I may in this place acknowledge the open-hearted welcome we met 
with from all the government officers, military and civil, as well as 

* I understand that since our visit to Sydney, Fort Macquarie has been demolished, 
"f Since our visit, however, several new fortifications have been erected. 

vol. ii. 43 


from the citizens. Our reception was gratifying in the extreme, and 
cannot be too highly appreciated. The Australian Club* was thrown 
open to us by its committee, and parties, balls, &c, were given in 
our honour ; in short, all our leisure time was fully occupied in the 
receipt of these hospitable attentions. 

The day after we anchored at Sydney, the brig Camden also 
arrived. By her we learnt the melancholy intelligence of the death 
of the Rev. Mr. Williams, from whom we had parted so short a time 
before at the Samoan Group. He was then, as will be recollected, 
about setting forth to propagate the gospel among the savages of the 
New Hebrides, and was in full health and high spirits, in the ai'dent 
hope of success in his mission. My information in respect to this 
sad event, was derived from his associate, Mr. Cunningham. They 
had placed native missionaries at Rotuma and Totoona. Mr. Wil- 
liams then landed at Tanna, which they found in a high state of 
cultivation, and where they were hospitably received by the natives. 
These were Papuans, and spoke a language much like that of the 
Hervey Islanders. At Tanna, Samoan missionaries were also left. 
and they thence proceeded to Erromango. Here they found a barren 
country and a different race of men, black, with woolly hair, who did 
not comprehend a word of any of the languages known to the mis- 

The natives, although apparently suspicious, exhibited no symp- 
toms of actual hostility. Mr. Williams, with Mr. Harris, Mr. 
Cunningham, and the master of the vessel, landed, and were strolling 
about, amusing themselves with picking up shells. While thus 
engaged, they had separated from each other, and Messrs. Harris and 
Williams were in advance of the others. On a sudden the war-shout 
was heard, and Mr. Harris was seen running, pursued by a crowd of 
natives. He was soon overtaken by them, and killed. Mr. Williams 
then turned and endeavoured to reach the boat, but he had delayed 
too long, and although he reached the water, he was followed into it 
and slain also. 

Mr. Cunningham and the captain escaped, although with difficulty, 
and after some fruitless attempts to recover the body, left the island. 
Mr. Cunningham was of opinion that the attack had not been pre- 
meditated, but arose from a sudden desire to obtain possession of the 

* At the Australian Club, I had the pleasure of seeing Count Strezleski, well known 
ia the United States, who was travelling in New South Wales. 


clothes of the persons who were on shore ; he was also satisfied that 
a single loaded musket in the hands of those left in the boat, would 
have been the means of saving these two valuable lives. 

I had, in a conversation with Mr. Williams at Upolu, expressed my 
belief that the savage inhabitants of the New Hebrides would not be 
safely visited without the means of defence. He had in reply 
declared himself averse to the use of fire-arms or any other weapon 
in the propagation of the gospel ; being of opinion that it would be 
more easily and effectually disseminated without them. 

The missionary cause has sustained a great loss in Mr. Williams's 
death ; for in him were united a true spirit of enterprise and fervent 
zeal, with great perseverance and a thorough knowledge of the native 
character. I still think with melancholy pleasure of the acquaintance 
I had the good fortune to form with him. 

The town of Sydney may, for convenience of description, be con- 
sidered as divided into two parts; the line that separates them 
coincides nearly with that of George Street, the Broadway of 
Sydney. The old town lies on the east side of this line, and 
occupies the eastern promontory of the Cove ; it is the least reputable 
part, and is almost filled "with grog-shops and brothels, except at its 
extreme eastern quarter, where there are a few genteel buildings, in 
agreeable situations. The streets to the south and west of George 
Street are well laid out, and are rapidly filling up with good houses. 

George Street extends in a direction nearly north and south for 
two or three miles, as far as Brickfield Hill, which is also nearly 
covered with buildings. On George Street are many of the public 
buildings, among which are the barracks, the markets, the post-office, 
and the banks. The remaining buildings which front upon it are 
chiefly occupied as shops, in which almost every description of 
European manufactures may be procured, and some of them at 
moderate prices. Several streets run parallel, and others at right 
angles to George Street. 

The houses of Sydney are for the most part well built and com- 
modious. On the western side of the town are many handsome 
buildings and extensive public grounds ; towards the eastern side is a 
large square, called Hyde Park, upon which are situated the offices 
of the colonial government, the church of St. James, and the Catholic 

Sydney contains about twenty-four thousand inhabitants, which is 
about one-fifth part of the whole population (120,000) of the colony; 


and about one-fourth of this number are convicts. In truth, the fact 
that it is a convict settlement may be at once inferred from the 
number of police-officers and soldiers that are every where seen, and 
is rendered certain by the appearance of the "chain-gangs." The 
latter reminded us, except in the colour of those who composed them, 
of the coffee-carrying slaves at Rio; but the want of the cheerful 
song, and the apparent merriment, which the Brazilian slaves exhibit 
in the execution of their tasks, was apparent. 

When viewed from the water, Sydney appears to great advantage. 
It lies on the south side of the harbour, and covers two narrow 
promontories, separated and bounded by coves. The ground rises 
gradually, and thus exhibits its buildings to great advantage, giving 
it the air of a large commercial city. It is chiefly built of a drab- 
coloured sandstone, resembling that employed in the new public 
buildings at Washington, but of a lighter hue. Red brick is also 
used in building, and the suburbs contain many neat cottages and 
country-seats. The sandstone is a beautiful material, but is not very 
durable. The view of the town is diversified with the peculiar 
foliage of Australian trees, among which the pines of Norfolk Island 
and Moreton Bay are most conspicuous. At the time of our arrival, 
the trees were infested with locusts (Cicada), which made a noise 
absolutely deafening. The sound this insect produces is the same as 
that made by the analogous species in the United States, but is 
continued here during the heat of the day, and ten times more 

Handsome equipages abound ; and the stage-coaches are numerous. 
These, with the costume and demeanour of the more respectable part 
of the population, struck us as being more like what is seen in our 
towns than in those of Europe. Every thing has a new look about 
it, and the people manifest more of the bustle and activity of our 
money-making and enterprising population than are to be seen in old 
countries. The acquisition of wealth seems to be the only object of 
all exertion here, and speculation was as rife as we had left it in the 
United States. Cutting down hills, filling up valleys, laying out and 
selling lots, were actively going on. There are in truth many par- 
ticulars in which the people of Sydney resemble those of America. 
This is observable, among other things, in the influence of the public 
press. In Australia, however, it is more licentious than any except 
the lowest of our newspapers; taking unwarrantable liberties with 
private character, and is far from being remarkable for discrimination. 


All the religious sects of the British Islands have their representa- 
tives here. Each has its ardent advocates, who appear to be in con- 
tinual war with those of the others. The contest between them had 
risen to a great height at the time of our visit, which is probably to 
be ascribed to the agitation of a question in relation to the distribution 
of the school-fund. 

In one particular, a most striking difference is to be observed be- 
tween the scenes to be witnessed at Sydney, and in the cities of the 
United States. This consists in the open practice of the vice of 
drunkenness, which here stalks abroad at noonday. It is not rare at 
any time, but on holidays its prevalence surpasses any thing I have 
ever witnessed. Even persons of the fair sex, if they may be so 
called, were there to be seen staggering along the most public streets, 
brawling in the houses, or borne off in charge of the police. However 
highly coloured this picture may be thought, it is fully corroborated 
by the police reports of the Sydney papers on Monday mornings. 
The police officers themselves are among the venders of the intoxi- 
cating liquid. 

The facilities for indulgence in this vice are to be seen every 
where in the form of low taverns and grog-shops, which attract 
attention by their gaudy signs, adapted to the taste of the different 
orders of customers, as the " King's Arms," the " Punchbowl," the 
"Shamrock," the "Thistle," the "Ship," the "Jolly Sailors." Of 
these, two hundred and fifty are licensed by the government, or more 
than one to each hundred souls. Among them a small shop was 
pointed out, which, from the extent of its custom, yielded the enor- 
mous amount of £200 for rent to its owner annually, a sum far beyond 
the apparent value of the whole property. The quantity of rum which 
is consumed in the colony may be estimated from the facts, that the 
revenue derived from its importation was, in 1838, £189,450, and that 
the supply amounts nearly to eight gallons annually for every indi- 
vidual in the colony. 

This state of things arose, of course, originally from the habits of 
the abandoned persons who formed the nucleus of the population. 
It might, therefore, have appeared to be the duty of the successive 
governors to restrain the vice, or even to render its commission impos- 
sible, by prohibiting importation. So far as penalty goes, this has 
been attempted, and a fine of five shillings is levied on all who are 
convicted of drunkenness before a magistrate; but, on the other hand, 
rum was actually at one time the only circulating medium, and in it 

vol. 11. 44 


the prices of land, labour, and food, were estimated, and for it they 
were freely exchanged. Even for the charitable purpose of erecting 
a public hospital, Governor Macquarie granted to four individuals, 
who defrayed the whole expense, the monopoly of the right of pur- 
chasing all the spirits imported into the colony, and of landing them 
free of duty, for several years, with the additional consideration of a 
quantity of rum from the king's stores.* 

The old Government-House, where I had the honour of seeing Sir 
George Gipps, is a low, cottage-shaped building, which has no pre- 
tensions to beauty, and appears to have been built at different times, 
having been enlarged as often as additional accommodation was 
needed. During the summer months, the Governor resides at the 
Government-House at Paramatta. 

A new palace or government-house is at present building, in the 
public grounds which lie to the eastward of the old one, from which a 
road extends through them towards the South Head of Port Jackson. 
This road is the usual promenade and drive of the citizens of Sydney. 
After leaving the government domain, it enters Wooloomoloo, a region 
covered with the country-seats and cottages of the higher classes, 
which, although originally little more than a barren rock, has been 
brought into a high state of cultivation by its occupants. The drive 
in this direction may challenge comparison for beauty with any part 
of the world. It presents innumerable and picturesque views of the 
noble bay, and of the promontories that jut into it, occupied by man- 
sions and ornamental grounds. On reaching the South Head, a view 
of great beauty is also seen. The point thus named, is a bold head- 
land, about two hundred and fifty-four feet in height, on which stands 
the light-house, a fine tower, with a brilliant revolving light. 

The public grounds are in part occupied by a Botanical Garden, 
which was laid out by Mr. Cunningham, the botanist of the colony, 
to whose memory a monument is about to be erected in the garden, 
which is itself a memorial of his fine taste, and his successful 
cultivation of the science he professed. Mr. Cunningham perished 
by a melancholy death, which is still spoken of with regret. He 
had, in his capacity of botanist, accompanied Major Mitchell, the 
Surveyor-General of the colony, on a tour of exploration in 1835. 

* It is related, that a highly respectable individual transmitted complaints against 
Governor Macquarie to the home government ; and that, by way of answering these 
expostulations, the reply of the Governor was : " There are but two classes of persons in 
New South Wales, — those who have been convicted, and those who ought to be." 


In the pursuit of his researches, he wandered from the party, and 
did not return. As soon as he was missed, the native guides were 
sent in search of him, but returned without having succeeded in find- 
ing his traces. Major Mitchell then instituted a fresh search, in 
which the tracks of Mr. Cunningham's horse were found, and followed 
for ninety miles. Within this space three places were seen where he 
had stopped and encamped. From the last of these, the tracks of the 
horse were again followed, until the carcass of the animal was found 
dead through fatigue and starvation, with the whip tied to the bridle, 
and all his accoutrements about hirn. Retracing their steps to his 
last encampment, they ascertained, on close examination, that he had 
there killed his dog for food, and his footsteps were seen as if making 
rapid strides for the bed of a river, which he had followed to a pool, 
into which he had plunged. Farther down the river, some shells 
were found near the remains of a fire, which had evidently been 
kindled by a white man. Here all further traces of him were lost, 
and the search abandoned in despair. 

Some months afterwards, a second search was made, by Lieutenant 
Vouch. In the course of this, some natives were taken near the 
Brogan river, in whose possession a part of Mr. Cunningham's 
clothing was found. They stated that a white man had come to 
them in a state of great exhaustion ; that he was hungry and they fed 
him, but that during the night they had become afraid, and killed 
him. The body was never found. 

Lieutenant Vouch inferred that Mr. Cunningham had become 
deranged by the severity of his sufferings, and that this had caused 
him to wander about at night, which, with other suspicious move- 
ments, had alarmed the natives, who, under the influence of their 
terrors, had murdered him. 

Thus ended the useful life of one who had raised himself to eminence 
by his own exertions, and had, by his virtues and scientific acquire- 
ments, gained the esteem of all the pure and good of the colony, by 
whom he will be long affectionately and honourably remembered. 

These grounds have many pleasant shady walks, and afford an 
agreeable promenade for the inhabitants of Sydney ; and one of them 
encircles the whole, with occasionally a rural seat and arbour.* 

The aspect of the country around Sydney is sufficient to prove 

* At the end of the walk around the government domain, the following inscription is 
calculated to excite a smile : " Be it recorded, that this road round the inside of the 
government domain, called Mrs. Macquarie's Road, so called by the Governor on 


that New South Wales is very different, in its general features, from 
other parts of the globe. This is chiefly owing to two causes : the 
aridity of its climate, and the prevalence of sandstone rock. This 
rock may be readily examined at the heads of Port Jackson, and on 
the shores of the many coves that surround this beautiful harbour. 
Its colour is pale yellow or drab, and it lies in beds, nearly horizontal 
and of various thickness, whose upper surface, except where broken 
by ravines and water-courses, forms a table-land : the average eleva- 
tion in the neighbourhood of Sydney is from three hundred and fifty 
to four hundred feet. At this level it extends in gentle undulations 
to a great distance inland. 

This arid soil yields but a scanty growth of vegetable products, 
which, consisting of burnt pasture, and thinly scattered trees and 
shrubbery, give to the whole region a look of desolation. The grass 
does not every where conceal the bare rock, and the thin soil supports 
only a few gum trees (Eucalypti), and bushes. Throughout the 
wide plain there is little to relieve the eye, except here and there a 
small cultivated spot. 

As I did not consider it necessary that any of the naturalists 
should accompany the squadron on its southern cruise, they were left 
at Sydney, with orders to visit such parts of the country as might 
appear to offer the best opportunities for making collections in their 
respective departments.* This enabled me to obtain much informa- 
tion in relation to the interior of this interesting country, its produc- 
tions, and its original inhabitants. The narratives of several of these 
journeys will be given hereafter, but so much of what they learned as 
is general, together with such additional information as was gained 
from other sources, will form an appropriate introduction to the 
account of their tours. 

The interior of the country, for a distance of sixty or eighty miles to 
the north and south of Sydney, presents the same characters which 
have just been described, except that deep gorges are from time to time 
met with, and that some parts of it are of a more undulating character. 

account of her having originally planned it, three miles and three hundred and seventy- 
seven yards in length, was finally completed on the 13th day of June, 1816." 

Governor Macquarie has literally put his mark on the town of Sydney, where hardly 
a single street, square, or public building can be passed, without seeing his name cut in 

* For orders, propositions of officers, and letters respecting their employment, see 
Appendix XI. 


On proceeding inwards from the coast, the country at a distance 
seems to be traversed by ridges, but on approaching their apparent 
position, they melt away into rounded elevations, of very gradual 
inclination. Still farther to the westward, the undulating region is 
bounded by inaccessible declivities and lofty mural precipices. 
These are the edges of the Bhie Mountains, which are seen from 
Sydney, skirting the horizon like low hills, which have so little 
appearance of elevation that it at first seems to be difficult to conjec- 
ture how they came to be called mountains, when seen only from the 
coast. This ridge runs north and south, and rises at some points to 
the height of three thousand five hundred feet. 

It is not many years since this ridge was considered as inacces- 
sible, and the deep gorges which intersect its sandstone rocks as 
impassable ; its peaks rise in many places abruptly, and present such 
difficulties, as to have deterred travellers from attempting to scale 
their summits, or from seeking a passage through the ravines, which 
in the season of rains are swept by impetuous torrents. 

The same description will apply to the mountains which bound 
the Illawarra district to the west, where sandstone also occurs, 
broken into precipitous heights, and deep gorges. At the Kangaroo 
Pass, the Illawarra Mountain is nearly two thousand feet high; its 
rapid acclivity is covered with a dense vegetation, until within three 
hundred feet of the summit ; whence upwards a perpendicular face 
of rock is exposed. The path through this pass winds among the 
narrow breaks of the rock, and is toilsome to both beast and rider. 

In one of the gorges which open upon this pass is a beautiful 
waterfall. The deep narrow glen opens abruptly upon the passenger, 
and exhibits its bare rocks, and the tiny stream is seen leaping from 
one projection of the rocky shelves to another, which break its head- 
long course, until, lost in spray, it reaches the bottom, where its waters 
collect, at the depth of two hundred and fifty feet below its upper 
edge, in a limpid pool. This gorge opens to the westward, and looks 
out upon a mountain range. 

Seven miles further, a descent by a similar path leads into the 
Kangaroo Valley. This valley is nearly twenty miles in length, and 
has an average breadth of about three miles ; it is surrounded on all 
sides by vertical precipices, from one thousand to one thousand eight 
hundred feet in height. 

In consequence of the aridity which has been mentioned as a 
character of the soil about Sydney, and which is also a prevailing 

vol. 11. 45 


character throughout the rest of the country, there are many con- 
tinuous miles of waste lands, which by the inhabitants are called 
" forests." These are very different from what we understand by 
the term, and consist of gum trees (Eucalypti), so widely scattered 
that a carriage may be driven rapidly through them without meeting 
any obstruction, while the foliage of these trees is so thin and appa- 
rently so dried up as scarcely to cast a shade. Thus miles may be 
traversed in these forests without impediment. A few marshy 
spots are occasionally seen, covered with thickets of brush ; and 
in other places there are tracts so dry that even the gum tree will 
not grow upon them, and which receive the direct and scorching 
rays of the sun. 

The exceptions to this general character are found in the occa- 
sional rising of basalt in conical peaks. The productions of the soil 
where this rock prevails, are in striking contrast to those of the arid 
lands of the sandstone formations, and the geological character of a 
basaltic ridge can be detected at a distance by the luxuriant vegeta- 
tion with which it is clothed. These ridges become more and more 
frequent as the distance from the coast increases, and are occasionally 
interspersed with granite. 

The latter rock is first seen in the Clywd Valley, near Mount 
Victoria, and about eighty miles from Sydney. This valley lies in 
the western mountain range, which separates the waters that flow 
towards the east and west. The land falls gradually to the westward, 
until, in the Darling Valley, at a distance of four hundred miles, it is 
only about four hundred feet above the sea. 

For some distance beyond Mount Victoria, granite characterizes 
some extensive ridges, and basaltic mountains are occasionally com- 
bined with those of granite. 

Beyond Bathurst, about one hundred and twenty miles to the west 
of Sydney, a compact limestone, in which there are many caverns, 
occurs between ridges of granite and basalt ; but, according to Major 
Mitchell, the sandstone reappears on proceeding further west, towards 
the Darling Valley, and is accompanied by the same sterility as upon 
the coast. 

Before reaching the western barrens there are many fine and 
fertile valleys, among which, besides Bathurst, is that of Wellington, 
distant about two hundred miles from Sydney. Both of these are 
already settled. 

As to the more remote parts of the interior of New Holland, no 


positive knowledge has yet been obtained. The prevailing opinion 
appears to be, that an extensive desert extends throughout it; and 
this opinion is supported by citing the dry and scorching character 
of the winds which blow from the west. The greatest distance to 
the westward which has been explored, is only four hundred and 
fifty miles, which is not a fourth part of the distance to the western 
coast. It will thus be seen that a vast field of discovery is still open, 
which will no doubt be ere long explored, under the auspices of the 
British government. 

To the southwest of Sydney the same compact limestone seen at 
Bathurst makes its appearance at Argyle, also about one hundred 
and twenty miles distant from the former place. This stone yields 
lime of good quality, and is also a valuable material for building. 

According to the best accounts, the range of granite appears to 
begin in Van Diemen's Land, and after being interrupted by Bass's 
Straits, runs through New South Wales in a broad belt. Near Bass's 
Straits it rises into a lofty group of mountains, called the Australian 
Alps, the only snowy ridge known in Australia, and continuing 
thence northward, it forms the dividing range of the waters. 

The basaltic ridges of this southern region are said occasionally to 
reach a height of four thousand feet, and a limestone similar to that 
of Argyle and Bathurst, which contains many fossils, extends to the 
" Limestone Plains," where it is succeeded by the usual sandstone. 
How far this limestone extends to the southward has not been 
ascertained. The finest districts in this southern section are those of 
Port Philip, Argyle, Bass, and Bong-Bong. 

To the northward, beyond the Hunter river, the country is inter- 
sected by basaltic ridges, which increase in number until they merge 
in the Liverpool Mountains, of which many of them are spurs. 
Between these ridges, and to the north of the Goulburn branch, 
sandstone again prevails, and forms a great extent of barren country ; 
but the smaller valleys being generally bordered by ridges of basalt, 
are for the most part fertile. 

The Liverpool range of mountains, although it has been traced for 
many miles in an east and west direction, is said by Major Mitchell 
to be a prolongation of the range which runs parallel to the coast- 
According to him, at the distance of one hundred miles inland, 
the range trends to the northward, and thence pursues a course to the 

To the northward of the Liverpool range, plains of considerable 


extent spread over the country, and form the district of New Eng- 
land, which affords fine pasturage. These plains lie at an altitude of 
between two thousand and three thousand feet, and from that circum- 
stance enjoy a much cooler climate than Sydney, although five 
degrees nearer the equator. 

The most remarkable part of New South Wales is the district of 
Illawarra, situated on the coast, about sixty miles to the south of Port 
Jackson. This is a narrow strip, that seems to be formed by the 
retreat of the sandstone cliffs from the sea, to a distance which varies 
from one to ten miles. The cliffs or mountains vary in height from 
one thousand to two thousand feet. This region is extremely fruitful ; 
its forests are rich with a great variety of foliage, and of creeping 
plants which twine around the trees. The great size and number of 
the trees served to remind the gentlemen who visited it, of the vege- 
tation of the tropical islands, luxuriant with tree-ferns, bananas, 
banyans, &c. This luxuriance is in part owing to a rich and light 
soil, composed of decomposed basalt and argillaceous sandstone, 
mixed with vegetable mould, but more to the peculiarity of its cli- 
mate. The high cliffs which bound it to the west, keep off the 
scorching winds which reach other parts of the coast from that 
quarter, and the moisture of the sea-breeze intercepted by them, is 
condensed, falling in gentle showers. For this reason, it is not sub- 
ject to the long and frequent droughts that occur in other parts of 
New South Wales. 

These droughts are sometimes of such long- continuance, that we at 
one time read of the whole country having been burnt up for want 
of rain, a famine threatened, and the sheep and cattle perishing in 
immense numbers. 

These have been succeeded by long-continued rains, which have 
raised the rivers thirty or forty feet, flooded the whole country, 
deluged the towns and villages, and completely destroyed the crops. 
Such floods carry with them houses, barns, stacks of grain, &c, 
drown the cattle, and even the inhabitants are in some cases saved 
only by being taken from the tops of their houses in boats. 

The year of our visit, 1839, added another instance to the list of 
disasters of the latter kind; and the published accounts state that 
twenty thousand sheep were lost in the valley of the Hawkesbury by 
the floods. Such evils indeed appear to be of frequent occurrence, 
and the settler in New South Wales has to contend with the elements 
in an unusual degree. 


Such disasters are equally injurious to the husbandman and the 
wool-grower ; for the same cause that destroys the crops, also carries off 
the stock ; so that it is only the large capitalist who can successfully 
strug-p-le against or overcome such adverse circumstances. It is some 
recompense for this stat3 of things, that one or two favourable years 
will completely repay all former losses ; and it is due to the perse- 
verance and industry of the inhabitants of New South Wales to 
say, that they have already, in spite of the difficulties they have 
had to encounter, made it one of the most flourishing colonies on the 

What these difficulties are, may be better understood by quoting 
some remarks of Major Mitchell, the Surveyor-General, who has had 
greater opportunities than any other person of examining the country, 
every accessible portion of which he has visited. 

" Sandstone prevails so much more than trap, limestone, or granite, 
as to cover six-sevenths of the whole surface comprised within the 
boundaries of nineteen counties, from Yass Plains in the south, to the 
Liverpool range in the north. Wherever this happens to be the 
surface, little besides barren sand is found in the place of soil. 
Deciduous vegetation scarcely exists there ; no turf is found ; for the 
trees and shrubs being very inflammable, conflagrations take place so 
frequently and extensively in the woods during summer, as to leave 
very litt e vegetable matter to turn to earth. 

" In the regions of sandstone, the territory is in short good for 
nothing, and is, besides, generally inaccessible, thus presenting a 
formidable obstruction to any communication between spots of a 
better description." 

The information obtained from other sources does not, however, 
sustain so very unfavourable a picture ; it may, indeed, be true, when 
applied to the labours of husbandry alone ; but there is reason to 
believe, on the other hand, that the excellence of the great staple of 
the country, its wool, is in a great measure to be ascribed to the 
short and sweet pasturage which these very sandstone districts 
afford. These lands produce, except during the prevalence of 
excessive droughts, a nutritious herbage, and form a dry healthy 
soil, on which sheep thrive particularly well, although it is said that 
one hundred acres of this description, of average quality, will not 
support more than five or six head of cattle. 

In seasons of drought, the flocks and herds are driven into the 
interior. The year of our visit (1839) was accounted a wet one, and 

vol. ii. 46 


some parts of the sandstone district which produced good crops of 
grain,* in drier seasons would have been dry to barrenness. 

In such a climate it is not surprising that there are hardly any 
streams that merit the name of rivers. It is necessary to guard 
against being misled by the inspection of maps of the country, 
and forming from them the idea that it is well watered. Such an 
impression would be erroneous, and yet the maps are not inaccurate; 
streams do at times exist in the places where they are laid down on 
the maps, but for the greater part of every year no more is to be seen 
than the beds or courses, in which, during the season of floods, or 
after long-continued rains, absolute torrents of water flow, but which 
will within the short space of a month again become a string of deep 
pools. Were it not for this peculiar provision of nature, the country 
for the greater part of the year would be without water, and, conse- 
quently, uninhabitable. 

The principal rivers which are found to the east of the Blue Moun- 
tains are, the Hunter, George, Shoalham, and Hawkesbury. None 
of these streams are navigable further than the tide flows in the 
estuaries, which sometimes extend twenty or thirty miles inland, for 
beyond them they are usually no more than twenty inches in depth. 
Each of these streams has numerous tributaries, which drain a 
large area of country, and during heavy rains the main branches are 
suddenly swelled, and cause the floods which have been spoken of. 
To the west of the mountains, the water-courses are of a very 
different character. The Darling, for instance, through a course of 
seven hundred miles, does not receive a single tributary, although it 
is said to drain an extent of sixty thousand square miles. It possesses 
the other character which has been mentioned, of being frequently 
reduced to a mere string of pools. The Darling, Murrumbidgee, 
and Lachlan, unite about one hundred miles from the ocean, and 
their joint stream is known by the name of the Murray, which after 
passing through Lake Alexandria, enters the sea at Encounter Bay. 
The surface drained by these streams is about two hundred and 
fifty thousand square miles. 

Another remarkable occurrence observed in these western waters, 
is the disappearance of a river in swampy lands, where, as is sup- 

* In the diluvial flats along the rivers, the wheat crop is usually about twenty-five 
bushels to the acre. Forty to forty-five bushels have been obtained, but such crops are 
very unusual. 


posed, it is swallowed up by the caverns in the limestone rocks. 
This is the case with the Macquarie, which has its source near 

According to all accounts, salt is very generally diffused throughout 
New South Wales, and even all Australia. It has been reported as 
being found in masses in the sandstone, but no specimens of it were 
obtained by the Expedition. Scarcely a well is dug in the interior 
which is not brackish ; and, according to Major Mitchell, Captain 
Start, Oxley, and others, many of the rivers are quite saline in parts 
of their course. The northern tributaries of the Hunter and Darling 
are instances of this. 

The lakes are also said to be saline, and in some instances suffi- 
ciently strong to afford a large and profitable yield of salt ; but being 
very far in the interior, and without the means of transportation, they 
are of little value. Along the south coast of Australia, such lakes 
are described as existing near the sea, and may possibly prove of 
some value to that portion of New Holland. 

Lead and iron have been found in small quantities ; the deposits 
of the former are all trifling. Those of the latter afford too impure 
an ore, and not in sufficient abundance to be worked. 

The minerals stated to be found in Australia, specimens of which 
were procured for the Expedition, are, chalcedony, agates, jasper, 
quartz, augite, and stilbite, feldspar, arragonite, gypsum, chlorite, 
mica in granite ; sulphur and alum, galena and plumbago, magnetic 
iron, iron pyrites, and basalt. 

Fossils appear to be confined to particular localities, but are by no 
means rare. 

Columns of basalt of great regularity are found on the coast of 
Illawarra, but the articulations are all plane. 

The water is much impregnated with alum and iron, and its use is 
avoided by the inhabitants. 

Deserts covered with saline plants are said to be frequently met with. 

Mitchell, in his travels in New South Wales, speaks of the 
different heights of the ranges of mountains in this country, some of 
them in the southern and some in the eastern portion, as being 
covered with snow, and rising four thousand five hundred feet above 
the sea. To the Blue Mountain range he ascribes a height of three 
thousand four hundred feet, composed entirely of sand; beyond this 
the granite or dividing range occurs, which is only two thousand two 


hundred feet in height. The Canobolus Mountains, further to the 
westward, are four thousand four hundred and sixty-one feet high, 
and of primitive rock; beyond these the extensive plains of the 
interior, the valley of Millewa or Murray River, seem again to be 
entirely composed of sedimentary rocks, similar to the sandstone of 
the coast. 

The climate of Australia may be considered generally as very dry ; 
the irregularity of the rains, and the nature of the soil, all prove that 
it is so ; yet the aridity is not marked, as in other countries, by a 
general tendency in the plants to produce thorns, although the 
peculiarity of the vegetation makes the dryness apparent in other 
ways. From all accounts, New South Wales is subject to as great 
atmospheric vicissitudes, as the middle United States. For a series 
of years, droughts will occur, which in turn give place to years of 
successive floods, and these prevail to an extent that can hardly be 
credited, were it not that the account has been received from good 
authority. As a striking instance of it, Oxley, in his exploring 
journeys into the interior, in 1817, found the country every where 
overflowed, so as to prevent him from proceeding; while Mitchell, 
in 1835, in the same districts, was continually in danger of perish- 
ing from thirst. The latter states that he found unios (or fresh- 
water mussels) sticking in the banks of rivers and ponds above 
the level of the water ; and also dead trees and saplings in similar 

This alternate change must exert a great influence on the produc- 
tions of the soil ; the rivers ceasing to flow, and their beds becoming 
as it were dry, with the exception of the pools heretofore spoken of, 
must likewise have an influence. The prevailing westerly winds 
sweep with force over the whole country, blighting all they touch. 
The effect of these hot winds is remarkable, for they will in a few 
hours entirely destroy the crops, by extracting aU the moisture from 
the grain, even after it is formed, and almost ready for harvest; and 
the only portion that is left is that which has been sheltered by trees, 
hedges, or fences. They thus destroy the prospect of the husband- 
man when his crops are ready for the sickle. It is thought, and I 
should imagine with reason, that were the Blue Mountains a more 
lofty range, this would not be the case, as they would have a tendency 
to continue the supplies to the streams throughout the year, by the 
condensation of the vapour from the sea. 


These hot winds come from the direction of the Blue Mountains, 
and, what seems remarkable, are not felt on the other side of the 
mountains, or in their immediate vicinity. Yet the extent between 
the coast and the mountains is not sufficient to produce these winds, 
being only forty-five miles ; and if they proceed from the interior, 
they must pass over those mountains, an elevation in some places of 
three thousand four hundred feet. Their great destructiveness is 
undoubtedly caused by their capacity for moisture, although few 
observations have as yet (as far as I was able to obtain information) 
been made upon them, except in relation to the blight they occasion. 
It has been found that fields which have a line of woods on the side 
whence they blow, escape injury. The harvest immediately on the 
line of the coast does not suffer so much, being exempted in part 
from their withering influence by the moisture that is imbibed from 
the sea. 

There is a portion of this country that is an exception to the 
general rule of aridity, namely, the district of Illawarra. This forms 
a belt of from one to ten miles wide, and has the range of the 
Kangaroo Hills just behind it, of one thousand feet ; these are suffi- 
ciently high at this distance from the coast to condense the moisture, 
and also to protect the district from the blighting effects of the 
blasts from the interior. 

One is entirely unprepared for the alleged facts in relation to this 
country ; for instance, Mitchell in his journey to the south and west, 
during the four winter months, witnessed no precipitation of moisture 
except frosts in the mornings, and the thermometer was often below 
the freezing point. Violent winds occur, which have obtained the 
name of brick-fielders. They are nothing more than a kind of gust 
peculiar to the environs of Sydney, after a sultry day. During one of 
these gusts little or no rain falls, though the wind frequently ap- 
proaches a hurricane in force. These winds get their name from 
bringing the dust from the brick-fields, formerly in the suburbs of 
Sydney, but which are now almost entirely built over. The tempera- 
ture during the blow generally falls twenty or twenty-five degrees, 
in the space of as many minutes; the dust is very great, and the 
wind so strong, as to cause apprehension lest the houses should be 
unroofed, or the chimneys thrown down. Our standard barometer 
was carefully watched during the coming on of two of these 
gusts, and found to fall 0-200 in. : the first time, and the second only 
0-020 in. : but the temperature fell each time about ten degrees. They 

vol. 11. 47 


■were not, however, true brick-fielders, or such as a resident would 
so denominate. 

Snow has been known to fall in Sydney, but so rarely, that we 
were told some of the inhabitants were doubtful as to its nature. On 
the mountains it is not uncommon, and in the winter season is always 
seen on those in the New England district, which, although three 
or four degrees to the northward of Sydney, enjoy a much cooler 

Major Mitchell often found that the temperature exceeded 100° of 
Fahrenheit. The heat was, of course, very oppressive, and more so 
on account of the little shade the native trees afford. The difference 
of temperature between the day and night is great, but upon this 
point I was able to get but little information ; the meteorological 
registers that have been kept at Sydney, have omitted the night hours 

I have been favoured since my return with the abstract returns of 
the meteorological registers during parts of the years 1840 and '41, 
kept at the South Head of Port Jackson, two hundred and fifty-four 
feet above the level of the sea. Being kept immediately at the sea- 
coast, this record does not furnish so satisfactory an account of 
the climate, as if the place of observation had been farther in the 
interior. I have also those kept at Port Macquarie to the north, 
and at Port Philip to the south ; the following are some of the results 
from them. 

During the winter months, June, July, August, and September, on 
the eastern coast, they have the winds from the south to the west 
quarter, blowing strong and cold, not unlike our northeast winds, 
accompanied by rain. The quantity of rain which fell in the winter 
of 1840 was 35-25 inches; in 1841, 45-00 inches. The temperature 
during this season is from 40° to 78°, mean temperature, 66°. During 
the summer months, October, November, December, January, and 
February, easterly winds prevail, and the temperature varies from 
56° to 90° ; the mean temperature being about 78°. On the south 
coast, as appears from the tables kept at Port Philip, the winds pursue 
a reversed order; for during the summer months they are found 
to prevail from the southward and westward, whilst in winter they 
come from the eastward. The mean standing of the barometer seems 
to be higher at Port Philip than at Port Jackson and Port Mac- 
quarie ; its range is within 0-5 inches, and at the two latter places it 
seldom reached 30-000 inches. During our stay at Sydney, the range 


of the barometer was generally higher than this. The temperature of 
the winter months varies from 35° to 65° : the mean is about 47° ; and 
that of the summer months from 50° to 98°, the mean being 68°. 

The above observations relative to the winds on the south and 
eastern coast, will serve to explain some of the difficulties that have 
resulted from vessels taking the southern route round New Holland, 
to proceed west. These, during some seasons of the year, have met 
constant head winds and storms. It would seem that the most 
feasible time to make the southern passage to the westward, is during 
the winter months. The probable cause of this difference is the 
immense vacuum which is formed on the vast plains in the interior 
of New Holland during the summer, that is supplied by these 
southerly winds. But it is not altogether certain that these winds 
prevail at any distance from the land. They were described to me 
rather as regular breezes, prevailing during the day, moderating 
towards night, and succeeded by light land-winds until the following 
morning. The intermediate months between the summer and 
winter, or those about the equinoxes, are attended with variable 
winds and uncertain weather, but from information I received, they 
do not appear to suffer here from very violent gales during these 
seasons. Severe gales are, however, experienced at these seasons at 
New Zealand, in the same latitude, of which I shall speak hereafter. 

Our own results for the time we stayed in Australia will be found 
under their appropriate head. At Sydney I found a great variety of 
opinions existing about the climate. During our stay the weather 
was unfavourable for all astronomical observations, and almost the 
whole time cloudy or rainy. It was amusing to find many of those 
to whom I had the pleasure of an introduction, apologizing for the 
badness of the weather. It brought forcibly to my recollection, the 
fault that Captain Basil Hall finds with the people of the United 
States, but was far from being annoying to me. I have but little 
doubt, that the climate is, generally speaking, a healthy one, and not 
unlike that of some parts of our own country. The colony is 
subject to occasional epidemics, and from the best information I 
could procure, it is thought that the mortality is about one in forty- 
three ; this may be called a very small proportion, when one takes 
into consideration the great quantity of ardent spirits that is con- 

The general appearance of the vegetation of New South Wales 
presents many peculiarities. The character of its productions is 


totally distinct from those of the other portions of the globe. The 
gum trees, Norfolk pines, and those of Moreton Bay, attract atten- 
tion from their scattered appearance, and peculiar foliage. All 
these have a dark and sombre hue. A remark made by one of our 
gentlemen is characteristic of the former, " that they were ghosts of 
trees." The leaves being set edgewise causes this appearance, and 
in consequence give little or no shade. This peculiar position of the 
leaf is more conspicuous in the Eucalypti than in other genera, for 
in them the leaves are all pendant, while the leaves in the other 
genera are usually upright, rigid, and somewhat as may be seen in 
the Acacias and other tribes. It was observed that both surfaces of 
the leaves were much alike, having as it were, two upper surfaces. 
Whether any physiological purpose has been assigned for such an 
arrangement I have not been informed. 

According to observations made by the gentlemen of the Expedi- 
tion, the great mass of the vegetation of Australia belongs to the 
natural orders of Myrtacese, Leguminosse, Proteacese, Epacridere, and 

The most common genera are Eucalyptus and Acacia. Many 
trees of one of the species of the former genus were seen one hundred 
and twenty feet in height, and with a girth, about six feet from the 
ground, of eighteen feet. This species is called by the settlers black 
gum. and is much used for domestic purposes, particularly its bark, 
with which they cover their huts and houses. The dilated foliaceous 
acacias are very numerous, and are objects of attraction from their 
gay and fragrant blossoms. The trees which present the greatest 
variety of species, are those known as gum trees, viz. : blue gum, 
gray gum, flooded gum, iron bark, and stringy bark. The leaves 
of these gum trees have a powerful aromatic flavour, and a taste 
approaching to camphor. They are used in the colony for a variety 
of purposes, according to their quality. Thus, the blue gum, (Euca- 
lyptus piperita,) is employed for ship-building; the iron gum, 
(Eucalyptus resinifera,) for fencing; and the gray gum, black-butted 
gum, for boards and plank. 

The Norfolk Island pine, (Araucaria excelsa,) is used for cabinet- 
work; the swamp oak, (Casuarina torulosa.) for shingles and cabinet- 
work, as is the cedar (Cedrela australis,) which grows to a very 
large size ; the turpentine wood, (Tristania arbicans,) for boat-build- 
ing; the pear tree, (Xylomelum pyriforme,) the apple, (Angophora 
lanceolata,) the mountain-ash, sallow, sassafras, and several kinds of 


wood which they called " Curagong," were also observed in use, but, 
the trees were not seen. 

The grass tree (Xanthorrhcea hastilis) did not equal our expecta- ' 
tions, which were probably too highly raised by the descriptions of 
those who had gone before us ; yet when in flower it must be a con- 
spicuous object, and in all stages of growth suits well for the fore- 
ground of a picture. 

Among the most singular of the productions of Australia are the 
wooden pears, as they are called. These have a close external 
resemblance to the fruit whose name they bear, but are ligneous 
within. Another of the fruits is a cherry whose stone is external, 
and would be similar to our fruit of that name were the kernel in its 
proper place. The pit adheres firmly to the pulp, which is of the 
size of a pistol-bullet, but the fruit shrinks when ripe to that of a buck- 
shot. The pear grows on a low shrub, the cherry on a large bush. 

I have before remarked how different the "forest," so called in 
New South Wales, is from what is understood by the term elsewhere. 
The want of close growth is not the only remarkable appearance, but 
the absence of all decayed foliage is also extraordinary. The ground 
is clear of any fallen leaves, and every thing betokens that perennial 
verdure is here the order of things. These two features combined, 
give the forests of Australia the air of a neatly-kept park. Annual 
plants, (if so they can be called,) abound in the forest, requiring, it 
is said, more than a single year to bring their seeds to maturity. 
There were instances we were told of crops of grain remaining three 
years in the ground. A few plants found in other parts of the world, 
are, it is well known, only brought into existence after a lapse of 
years, and others give repeated crops during the same year. That 
these types, so rare in other countries, should be abundant in Aus- 
tralia, is not remarkable when it is considered that they are but 
instances of an almost complete diversity between the natural history 
of this country and that of other regions. 

The timber of the Australian trees is generally of greater specific 
gravity than water. 

The remark, that the leaves of the trees are wood, and their wood 
iron, is not inappropriate to most of the plants of this country. It is 
not, however, to be inferred that all the plants are different from those 
of other countries; so far from this being the case, a considerable 
admixture of ordinary forms was met with. Among these were a 
great variety of grasses, some of which were before considered to be 

vol. ii. 48 


peculiar to North America; many other forms decidedly North 
American were also met with, a circumstance which, from the 
difference of geographical position, distance, and climate, was not 
to be expected; but for these details I must refer to the Botanical 

All seem to have been struck with the apparent monotony of the 
scenery, foliage, and flora, although in reality the latter presents 
great variety. The general sentiment wa>, that they were fatigued 
by it, which is not a little surprising, as the Australian Flora rivals in 
number of species that of Brazil. This feeling may be accounted for 
by the overpowering impression that is made by the gum trees, whose 
foliage is of a dark sombre green. There is also something in the 
general absence of underbrush; and the trees are so distant from one 
another that there is no need of roads, so that a carriage may drive 
any where. 

The trees are in general tall in proportion to their diameter, with 
an umbrella top, and have the appearance of being thinly clad in 
foliage. No woody vines are to be seen, nor any parasitic plants. 
In many places a stunted growth of detached shrubs, called in the 
colony "scrub," exists, which might be termed one of their "forests" 
in a dwarf shape. 

In the Illawarra district a totally distinct state of things exists. 
Here is to be found all the luxuriance of the tropics — lofty palms, 
among them the Corypha australis, with tree-ferns of two or more 
varieties, different species of Ficus, a scandent Piper, and very many 
vines. The forest of this district is thick, and alive with animal 

This district is about fifty miles long, and forms a semicircular 
area about thirty miles in its greatest width. The peculiarity of the 
situation of this district would tend to show what would have been 
the probable state of New Holland, or rather its eastern side, if the 
mountains were sufficiently high to intercept the moisture of the 
ocean, and prevent the access to it of the dry hot winds from the 
interior. Illawarra may be termed the granary of New South Wales ; 
here the crops seldom if ever fail, and are very abundant. 

The flower-gardens at and in the neighbourhood of Sydney would 
do credit to any part of the world. Among the most conspicuous are 
the Botanic Garden and that of Mr. M'Leay. The latter particularly 
interested us. It is situated on Elizabeth Bay, beyond or within 
Wooloomoloo. The house, which displays much taste, is built of 



sandstone, and is situated beneath a hill, and on a knoll about fifty 
feet above the water'. In front of it is a lawn bounded by a parapet 
wall, and between this and the water are several acres of land very 
tastefully laid out as an arboretum and flower-garden. Copses of 
native trees have been judiciously left on the north and south sides 
of the grounds, and not only protect them from the injurious winds, 
but add greatly to their beauty. The garden is intersected by many 
walks, leading to the best points of view. It contains many rare and 
fine specimens of plants from England, Mauritius, the Cape of Good 
Hope, the East Indies, and America. A splendid specimen of the 
Acrostichum grande, or Stag-horn, from Moreton Bay, was seen 
suspended from a tree. 



The Norfolk Island pine, and that from Moreton Bay, (the Arau- 
caria Cunninghamii,) thought by some to be as handsome a tree 
as the one from Norfolk Island, were also among the plantations. 
From the flower-garden a walk leads through a lattice-work bower, 


covered with native Bignonias and Passion-flowers, into the kitchen 
and fruit-garden. These we found well stocked with fruit and vege- 
tables of almost all European kinds, which seem to thrive particularly 
well here. The kindness, attention, and hospitality, with which we 
were received and treated, will long be gratefully remembered. To 
Mr. M'Leay, the Expedition is indebted for much aid, and through 
him our collections were increased. The English oak thrives well, 
and many fine specimens of it were seen. From the information I 
have received, very many of the Australian plants succeed admirably 
in England. 

The soil of Sydney consists of black mould, mixed with a clean 
white sand. The quantity of sand is such, as in the dry seasons to 
affect the vegetation. This sand I understood is now exported to 
England at a great profit, being found a valuable article in the 
manufacture of plate glass. This soil, however, is made to yield a 
plentiful supply of fruits and vegetables; and the display exhibited at 
the horticultural exhibition was highly creditable, not only for the 
perfection to which the productions had been brought, but for their 
great variety. The exhibition was held in the large market-house in 
George Street, which was tastefully decorated for the occasion with 
branches and festoons of flowers. In front of the door was an arch 
formed of beautiful flowers, with the motto "Advance, Australia," 
surmounted by a crown, and the letters V. R. in yellow flowers. 
Behind this the band was stationed, which, on our entrance, struck 
up Yankee Doodle. Tickets were sent to the consul for those be- 
longing to the squadron. There were a great many South American 
plants in pots. A premium was received for Tropeeolum penta- 
phyllum, Maurandya Barclayana, and for two species of Calceolaria. 
There were likewise Amaryllis belladonna and umbellata, Bouvardia 
triphylla, Cobsea scandens, and several Passifloras, and a variety of 
Hyacinths, Dahlias, Tuberoses, &c, all fine. 

The grapes exhibited were beautiful, and some of them in very 
large clusters. Nectarines, peaches, apples, pears, small oranges, 
shaddocks, pine-apples, chestnuts, and walnuts, were also in abun- 

After viewing the fruit we examined the vegetables, which con- 
sisted of potatoes, carrots, turnips, very large pumpkins, cucumbers, 
cabbages of different kinds and very fine, particularly the curled 
Savoy arid early York, tomatoes, celery, squashes, vegetable marrow, 
beets, capsicums, and beans. 


After the vegetables came specimens of native wines, and a silver 
cup was given as a premium for the best. The white wine resembled 
hock in taste; the red, claret. The climate is thought to be favourable 
to the production of the grape. The first wine made in the colony 
was by Mr. Blaxland, on his estate at Newington. 

The premiums were silver medals. A very handsome gold one 
was also exhibited, which was to be given the next year for the best 
crop of wheat. 

There was a large concourse of visiters, all seemingly much inte- 
rested in the exhibition, which was open from one o'clock until six. 
The proceeds of the exhibition of the following day were for the 
benefit of the poor. 

There are a variety of other fruits and vegetables grown near 
Sydney, which, being out of season, were not exhibited ; but to show 
the great variety this climate produces, it is as well to mention them, 
viz. : English cherries, plums, raspberries, figs, water and musk- 
melons, filberts, citrons, lemons, strawberries, grenadillas, olives, and 
a species of cherimoyer; and for vegetables, asparagus, cauliflower, 
lettuce, radishes, spinach, broccoli, artichokes, egg-plant, mustard, 
and capers. 

They have many imported varieties of grapes. Sir John Jamison 
is now making experiments on his estate to effect their successful 
growth, and manufacture wine. He has obtained cultivators both 
from Madeira and the Rhine, to superintend his vineyard and vin- 
tage. The reports made yearly to the Agricultural Society, hold out 
well-founded hopes of success. 

Several good nurseries of fruit trees exist in the vicinity of Para- 
matta, and the Botanical Garden at Sydney also furnishes trees to the 

The grains grown in the colony are, wheat, rye, barley, Indian 
corn, and oats. The wheat yields from six to twenty-five bushels to 
the acre, and on some low ground as high as thirty-five bushels. Its 
weight per bushel is sixty-two pounds. The crops of this grain are 
subject to great fluctuations, and the most promising appearance may 
in a single day be entirely destroyed. 

Tobacco has been cultivated, and it is thought will succeed ; but 
the frequent frosts render it a very uncertain crop. 

Cotton has been attempted, but with little success. The value of 
pasturage, and its profitable yield in sheep-walks, will long be a bar 
to the extensive cultivation of any plants that require much labour in 

vol. 11. 49 


their production. Our horticulturist remarks, that cherries do not 
succeed well, being affected by the dry cutting winds which occur in 
the blossoming season. 

The orange, citron, and lemon trees present a scraggy and yellow 
appearance, and produce small and insipid fruit, in comparison with 
that of the tropics. Peaches thrive, and grow in large quantities, 
and of high flavour. Every farmer has his peach orchard ; and the 
fruit is so plenty that they fatten their pigs on them. 

The natives of Australia are fast disappearing. The entire abo- 
riginal population of Australia has been estimated as high as two 
hundred thousand ; this estimate is founded on the supposition that 
the unexplored regions of the country do not differ materially from 
that part of it which is known, which cannot well be the case. Other 
estimates, and probably much nearer the truth, are given at from 
sixty to seventy-five thousand. 

The ravages of intoxication and disease, combined with their occa- 
sional warfare, will readily account for the rapid disappearance of 
the native population ; and but a few more years will suffice for the 
now scanty population to become extinct. In 1835, the Surveyor- 
General, Mitchell, estimated that in about one-seventh of the whole 
colony, which he had examined, the natives did not exceed six 
thousand in number ; they are in many parts most wretched-looking 
beings, and incorrigible beggars; the moment they see a stranger, 
he is fairly tormented to give something ; a shilling or a six-pence 
contents many, and when laid out for rum, or bread, is shared by 
all present. 

The introduction of European arts has caused but little improve- 
ment, while the vices which accompany them have been the bane of 
the native population, which has thus accmired a fondness for ardent 
spirits and tobacco. The natives usually lead a wandering, vagabond 
life, hanging about the houses of the settlers, where they are well 
treated, and doing little jobs for a slight recompense in the above 
articles. Their habitations are mere temporary shelters, formed of 
boughs and bark piled up against the stump of a fallen tree, rather 
to shield them from the wind than for a regular habitation ; the 
reason for this may be, that owing to superstitious scruples they 
never encamp in one spot three nights in succession. At Illawarra, 
their huts were made by setting two forked sticks upright, on 
which another was laid horizontally ; on the latter, one end of 
pieces of bark, taken from the nearest gum tree, is laid, while the 


other end rests -upon the ground. A fire is built on the open side, 
which not only warms them, but keeps off the myriads of musquitoes 
and other insects. As many as can enter such a hut, take shelter in 
it, lying upon the soft bark of the ti tree. 



The natives of Australia differ from any other race of men, in 
features, complexion, habits, and language. Their colour and fea- 
tures assimilate them to the African type; their long, black, silky 
hair has a resemblance to the Malays; in their language they 
approximate more nearly to our American Indians; while there is 
much in their physical traits, manners, and customs, to which no 
analogy can be traced in any other people. 

The natives are of middle height, perhaps a little above it ; they are 
slender in make, with long arms and legs. From their wandering life, 
irregular habits, and bad food, they are extremely meagre; and as 
their thinness is accompanied by a considerable protuberance of the 
abdomen, it gives to their figure a distorted and singular appearance. 
The cast of the face is between the African and Malay ; the forehead 
usually narrow and high; the eyes small, black, and deep-set; the 
nose much depressed at the upper part between the eyes, and 
widened at the base, which is done in infancy by the mother, the 
natural shape being of an aquiline form ; the cheek-bones are high, 
the mouth large, and furnished with strong, well-set teeth ; the chin 
frequently retreats; the neck is thin and short. Their colour usually 
approaches chocolate, a deep umber, or reddish black, varying much 
in shade; and individuals of pure blood are sometimes as light- 
coloured as mulattoes. Their most striking distinction is their hair, 
which is like that of dark-haired Europeans, although more silky. 
It is fine, disposed to curl, and gives them a totally different appear- 
ance from the African, and also from the Malay, and American 
Indian. Most of them have thick beards and whiskers, and they are 
more hairy than the whites. The proportions of two of them will 


be found in the table of comparative proportions at the end of the 
fifth volume. 


They are difficult to manage, taking offence easily when they are 
ill treated ; and if any one attempts to control, thwart, or restrain their 
wandering habits, they at once resort to the woods, and resume their 
primitive mode of life, subsisting upon fish, grubs, berries, and occa- 
sionally enjoying a feast of kangaroo or opossum-flesh. They eat the 
larvae of all kinds of insects with great gusto. Those who reside 
upon the coast, fish with gigs, or spears, which are usually three- 
pronged ; they have no fish-hooks of their own manufacture. 

When they feel that they have been injured by a white settler, 
they gratify their revenge by spearing his cattle ; and it is said upon 
good authority, that not a few of the whites, even of the better class, 
will, when they can do so with impunity, retaliate in the blood of 
these wretched natives ; and it is to be regretted that they are not 
very scrupulous in distinguishing the guilty from the innocent. 

The natives of New South Wales are a proud, high-tempered race : 
each man is independent of his neighbour, owning no superior, and 
exacting no deference; they have not in their language any word 
signifying a chief or superior, nor to command or serve. Each 
individual is the source of his own comforts, and the artificer of his 
own household implements and weapons ; and but for the love of 
companionship, he might live with his family apart and isolated from 
the rest, without sacrificing any advantages whatever. They have 


an air of "haughtiness and insolence arising from this independence, 
and nothing will induce them to acknowledge any human being as 
their superior, or to show any marks of respect. In illustration of this, 
Mr. Watson the missionary is the only white man to whose name 
they prefix " Mr.," and this he thinks is chiefly owing to the habit 
acquired when children under his authority. All others, of whatever 
rank, they address by their Christian or surname. This does not 
proceed from ignorance on their part, as they are known to under- 
stand the distinctions of rank among the whites, and are continually 
witnessing the subservience and respect exacted among them. They 
appear to have a consciousness of independence, which causes them, 
on all occasions, to treat even the highest with equality. On being 
asked to work, they usually reply, " White fellow work, not black 
fellow ;" and on entering a room, they never remain standing, but 
immediately seat themselves. 

They are not great talkers, but are usually silent and reserved. 
They are generally w T ell-disposed, but dislike to be much spoken to, 
particularly in a tone of raillery. An anecdote was mentioned of a 
gentleman amusing himself with a native, by teasing him, in perfect 
good-humour, when the man suddenly seized a billet of wood, threw 
it at him, and then in a great rage rushed for his spear. It was with 
great difficulty that he could be pacified, and made to know that no 
insult was intended ; he then begged that they would not talk to him 
in that manner, as he might become wild and ungovernable. They 
look upon the whites with a mixture of distrust and contempt, and to 
govern them by threats and violence is found impossible. They are 
susceptible of being led by kind treatment, but on an injury or insult 
they immediately take to the Bush, and resume their wandering 
habits. They do not cany on any systematic attacks, and their fears 
of the whites are so great, that large companies of them have been 
dispersed by small exploring parties and a few resolute Stockmen. 

Though they are constantly wandering about, yet they usually 
confine themselves to a radius of fifty or sixty miles from the place 
they consider their residence. If they venture beyond this, which 
they sometimes do with a party of w T hites, they always betray the 
greatest fear of falling in with some Myall or stranger blacks, who 
they say would put them to death immediately. 

Their great timidity has caused a false estimate to be put upon 
their character, by ascribing to it great ferocity ; and, as an instance 
of it, it is mentioned, that if a party of natives be suddenly approached 
in the interior, who are unacquainted with white men, and taken by 

vol. n. 50 


surprise, supposing that they are surrounded and doomed to death, 
they make the most furious onset, and sell their lives as dearly as 
possible : this arises from the panic with which they are seized, 
depriving them temporarily of reason. 

They have not, properly speaking, any distribution into tribes. In 
their conflicts, those speaking the same language, and who have 
fought side by side, are frequently drawn up in battle-array against 
each other, and a short time after may be again seen acting together. 
Their conflicts, for they do not deserve the name of wars, are con- 
ducted after the following manner. The quarrel or misunderstanding 
generally arises from some trivial affair ; when the aggrieved party 
assembles his neighbours to consult them relative to the course to be 
pursued. The general opinion having been declared, a messenger is 
sent to announce their intention to commence hostilities to the oppo- 
site party, and to fix a day for the combat. The latter immediately 
assemble their friends, and make preparations for the approaching 
contest. The two parties on the day assigned meet, accompanied 
by the women and children. The first onset is made by the oldest 
women (hags they might be termed) vituperating the opposite side. 
Then a warrior advances, and several throws of spears take place. 
These are parried with much dexterity, for all the natives possess 
great art and skill in avoiding missiles with their shields. This 
exchange of missiles continues for some time, and not unfrequently 
ends without any fatal result. When one of either party is killed, a 
separation takes place, succeeded by another course of recrimination, 
after which explanations are made, the affair terminates, and hostility 
is at an end ; the two parties meet amicably, bury the dead, and join 
in the corrobory dance. 

These dances are not only the usual close of their combats, but 
are frequent in time of peace. They appear almost necessary to stir 
up their blood ; and under the excitement they produce, the whole 
nature of the people seems to be changed. To a spectator, the effect 
of one of these exhibitions almost equals that of a tragic melodrame. 

A suitable place for the performance is selected in the neighbour- 
hood of their huts. Here a fire is built by the women and boys, 
while such of the men as are to take a share in the exhibition, 
usually about twenty in number, disappear to arrange their per- 
sons. When these preparations are completed, and the fire burns 
brightly, the performers are seen advancing in the guise of as many 
skeletons. This effect is produced by means of pipe-clay, with 
which they paint broad white lines on their arms and legs, and on 



the head, while others of less breadth are drawn across the body, 
to correspond to the ribs. The music consists in beating time on 
their shields, and singing, and to it the movements of the dancers 
conform. It must not be supposed that this exhibition is a dance 
in our sense of the word, nor is it like any thing that we saw in the 
South Sea Islands. It consists of violent and odd movements of the 
arms, legs, and body, contortions and violent muscular actions, amount- 
ing almost to frenzy. The performers appear more like a child's 
pasteboard supple-jack than any thing human in their movements. 

This action continues for a time, and then the skeletons, for so I 
may term them, for they truly resemble them, suddenly seem to 
vanish and reappear. The disappearance is effected by merely turn- 
ing round, for the figures are painted only in front, and their dusky 
forms are lost by mingling with the dark background. The trees 
illuminated by the fire, are brought out with some of the figures in 
bold relief, while others were indistinct and ghost-like. All concurred 
to give an air of wildness to the strange scene. As the dance pro- 
ceeds, the excitement increases, and those who a short time before 
appeared only half alive, become full of animation, and finally were 
obliged to stop from exhaustion. 

These corroborys are the occasion of much intercourse among the 
tribes, as they frequently make visits to each other for the sole pur- 
pose of carrying a new song for the dance. They have several kinds 
of these dances, which appear to be their only amusement. In their 
music they do not sound any of the common chords, and the only 
accompaniment was a kind of bass, as written below, which was in 
fact only a very deep-toned grunt, sounded, as ho, ho, ho, very deep in 
the throat. At the end of each dance they finished with a loud whoo, 
or screech, an octave above the key-note. 


j)— S— #-#— \ 0- — J 












■i — i — I — 
-*-& — 







The above is thought by Mr. Drayton, not to be entirely native 
music, but the following he has no doubt of; the words were given 
as he heard them. 

— i — fc#-i»»-' — 

Mer - ry dunbar 

a - roa Merry 


• -pi— ^— H 

danbar a - roa 

man gar merry own dunbar run mun gar. 

The above, as well as those which follow, were obtained from a 
native, who was on his way with the new song to his tribe. 



1 1 1 L 9 « f.p 1 

*— * 



: b^__0 : J;j»-q»n»4:f " f~f~ ~|* f~* 

Abang abang abang abang 

abang abang 


abang abang a 

£ 0—0—0—0- 

gumbe - ry jah jim gun relah gumbe - ry jah jim gun relali 

bang abang abang abang abang abang abang abang a. 

We have seen that the combats, of which mention has been made, 
are attended with little loss of life ; nor are their set battles bloody. 
In all their contests they seem to act upon certain principles, well 
established in their code of honour, and firmly adhered to. Ac- 
cording to eye-witnesses of their battles, these are conducted with 
system and regularity. On one occasion, the parties advanced 
towards each other drawn up in three lines, with the women fol- 
lowing in the rear, and when they had arrived within a few rods 
of each other, they threw their boomerengs or curved sticks. These, 
as they fell among their opponents, were picked up by the women, 
and given to the warriors, who hurled them back to their original 
owners, by whom they were again used. When these weapons 
were lost or broken, they then had recourse to their spears, which 





they threw, parried, and returned in like manner. They then 
closed, and fought hand to hand with their clubs, for a considerable 
time. Their extraordinary quickness of eye, alertness, and agility of 
movement, protect them from much harm ; and their thickness of 
skull may also be taken into account, for nothing worse than a few 
bruises and broken limbs resulted. The fight gradually dwindled 
down to a single combat between two of the most determined war- 
riors, and when one of these was knocked down by a stunning blow, 
another took his place and continued the fight until one was severely 
injured. The battle then terminated. 

Some of their personal or private quarrels are settled by a sort of 
duel, or rather a trial of whose head is hardest. The accused or 
challenged party extends his head, with the crown uppermost, towards 
his adversary, who strikes a blow with his utmost force with a waddy, 
which is the weapon they usually carry about them, and with which 
they punish their wives, who exhibit generally many marks from the 
use of it. The challenger then presents his head in return, and 
blows are thus continued alternately, until one or the other is disa- 
bled, or both declare themselves satisfied. Those who have witnessed 
these encounters are quite astonished that every blow does not stun 
or kill, for each of them would be fatal to a white man ; but the great 
thickness of their skulls enables them to sustain this violence with 
but little injury. 




Their weapons are the spear, club, or nulla nulla, boomereng, 
dundumel, and the bundi, of which drawings are given in the tail- 
piece at the end of the last chapter. Their spears are about ten feet 
long, and very slender, made of cane or wood tapering to a point, 
which is barbed. They are light, and one would scarcely be inclined 
to believe that they could be flung with any force ; nor could they 
without the aid of the wammera, a straight flat stick, three feet in 
length, terminating in a socket of bone or hide, into which the end of 
the spear is fixed. The wammera is grasped in the right hand by 
three fingers, the spear lying between the fore-finger and thumb. 
Previous to throwing it, a tremulous or vibratory motion is given to 
it, which is supposed to add to the accuracy of the aim ; in projecting 
the spear, the wammera is retained in the hand, and the use of this 
simple contrivance adds greatly to the projectile force given to the 
spear. They are well practised in the use of these weapons. 

The nulla nulla, or uta, is from thirty to thirty-six inches in length, 
the handle being of a size to be conveniently grasped. 

The dundumel is a weapon used by the natives of the interior ; it 
has a curved flat handle thirty inches in length, and terminates in a 
projection not unlike a hatchet ; it is thrown from the hand before 
coming to close quarters, and usually at a very short distance. 

But the most extraordinary weapon is the boomereng. This is a 
flat stick, three feet long and two inches wide by three quarters of an 
inch thick, curved or crooked in the centre, forming an obtuse angle. 
At first sight one would conclude it was a wooden sword, very rudely 
and clumsily made ; indeed one of the early navigators took it for 
such. It is an implement used both for war and in the chase. In 
the hands of a native it is a missile efficient for both, and is made to 
describe some most extraordinary curves and movements. It is 
grasped at one end in the right hand, and is thrown sickle- wise, 
either upwards into the air, or downwards so as to strike the ground 
at some distance from the thrower. In the first case it flies with 
a rotary motion, as its shape would indicate; after ascending to a 
great height in the air, it suddenly returns in an elliptical orbit to a 
spot near its starting-point. The natives in its use are enabled to 
strike objects which lie behind others with great precision, and to 
reach those near as if by a back-stroke, by throwing it at a particular 
angle. The diagram at the end of the chapter, exhibits the curves at 
the angles of 22°, 45°, and 65°, respectively, which I have obtained in 
making experiments with it. Some facts which were spoken of in its 
use, are remarkable. On throwing it downwards on the ground, it 


rebounds in a straight line, pursuing a ricochet motion until it strikes 
the object at which it is thrown. Birds and small animals are killed 
with it, and it is also used in killing ducks. The most singular 
curve described by it, is when thrown into the air, above the angle 
of 45° ; its flight is always then backwards, and the native who throws 
it stands with his back, instead of his face, to the object he is desirous 
of hitting. The diagram also exhibits its fall in case it loses its rotary 
motion. It is a favourite weapon with the natives, and is frequently 
seen ingeniously carved. 

As a defence they use a shield made of the thick bark of the gum 
tree ; this they call hidemara. It is peculiar in shape, and on the 
coast is three feet long by six or eight inches wide, with a handle in 
the centre ; it is made rounding. Those in the interior are only a 
three-cornered piece of wood, with a hole on each side, through 
which the hand is thrust. The size of the latter is smaller, being 
only two feet long and three or four inches broad. It would seem 
almost impossible that so small a shield should be sufficient to guard 
the body of a man ; and nothing but their quickness of eye and hand 
could make it of any value, as a protection against the spear or club. 

The mode in which the natives climb trees was considered ex- 
traordinary by those who witnessed it, although they had been 
accustomed to the feats of the Polynesians in the ascent of the cocoa- 
nut trees. The Australians mount a tree four or five feet in diameter, 
both with rapidity and safety. As they climb they cut notches 
above them, with a stone or metal hatchet, large enough to admit two 
of their toes, which are inserted in them, and support their weight 
until other holes are cut. 

The natives who reside upon the coast use canoes which are con- 
structed as follows. 

A gum tree that has a thick and tough bark is selected ; this is 
girdled, and the bark slit so that by care a piece of it may be stripped 
from the tree large enough to make the canoe, which is usually about 
fourteen feet long and seven wide. This piece of bark is charred on 
the inside, after which it is folded in each end, so as to bring the 
edges of the two halves of the entire circuit of the bark together ; in 
this position these edges are fastened by cords and wooden rivets. 
The simple canoe is now complete, and being usually about three 
feet wide in the middle, will convey half a dozen persons. 

They use paddles of different sizes, say from two to five feet in 
length. In using the shorter kind, a paddle is held in each hand. 


A fire is commonly carried upon a layer of gravel in the middle of 
the boat : a custom which appears to arise either from a natural or 
superstitious reluctance to be without a fire at any time. In this 
custom, as will be recollected, they resemble the Fuegians, who, 
however, far excel them in the art of constructing canoes. 

The social system and intercourse of the Australians is regulated 
by custom alone. As no system of government exists, or any 
acknowledgment of power to enact laws, they are solely guided by 
old usage, and can give no account whatever of its origin. The 
universal reprobation of their associates which follows a breach of 
ancient customs, has a strong tendency to preserve a strict observance 
of them. Many of these customs struck us as remarkable; those 
that have not been actually seen by the officers of the Expedition, 
have been described by persons entitled to the fullest credit. 

The custom, (to use the language of the settlers,) "of making 
young men," is singular. The object of the institution seems to be to 
imprint forcibly upon the youth the rules and observances by which 
his after life is to be governed ; and so strikingly are they adapted to 
insure good conduct, that it can hardly be believed that they could 
have originated among savages, such as the natives of Australia 
now are. 

When the boys reach the age of fourteen, or that of puberty, the 
elders of the tribe prepare to initiate them into the privileges of 
manhood. A night or two previous, a dismal cry is heard in the 
woods, which the boys are told is the Buhi calling for them. 
Thereupon all the men of the tribe set off for some secluded spot, 
previously fixed upon, taking with them the boys or youths to be 
initiated. No white man is allowed to be present, and the precise 
nature of the ceremony is therefore unknown ; but it is certain that 
the ceremonies are designed to try their courage, fortitude, and the 
expertness of the boys in reference to their future employments in 
the chase and in war. There is probably some difference in these 
ceremonies among the different tribes. The Wellington station, or 
those of the interior, for instance, never knock out a front tooth, 
which is always done on the coast. 

From the time the youths are initiated, they are required to yield 
implicit obedience to their elders. This is the only control that 
seems to prevail, and is very requisite to preserve order and harmony 
in their social intercourse, as well as to supply the place of distinc- 
tions of rank among them. 


The youths are likewise restricted to articles of diet, not being 
allowed to eat eggs, fish, or any of the filler kinds of opossum or 
kangaroo. Their fare is consequently of a very poor description, but 
as they grow older these restrictions are removed, although at what 
age we have not learnt ; but after having passed the middle age, they 
are entirely at liberty to partake of all. The purpose of this is 
thought to be not only to accustom them to a simple and hardy way 
of riving, but also that they should provide for the aged, and not be 
allowed to appropriate all to themselves. Selfishness is therefore no 
part of their character, and all observers are struck with their custom 
of dividing any thing they may receive among each other, a disin- 
terestedness that is seldom seen among civilized nations. 

To protect the morals of the youths, they are forbidden from the 
time of their initiation until their marriage to speak or even to approach 
a female. They must encamp at, a distance from them, and if, per- 
chance, one is seen in the pathway, they are obliged to make a detour 
in order to avoid her. Mr. Watson stated he had been often put to 
great inconvenience in travelling through the woods with a young 
native for his guide, as he could never be induced to approach an 
encampment where there were any Avomen. 

The ceremony of marriage is peculiar. In most cases the parties 
are betrothed at an early age, and as soon as they arrive at the proper 
age, the young man claims his gin or wife. 

The women are considered as an article of property, and are sold 
or given away by the parents or relatives without the least regard to 
their own wishes. As far as our observation went, the women appear 
to take little care of their children. Polygamy exists, and they 
will frequently give one of their wives to a friend who may be in 
want of one; but notwithstanding this laxity they are extremely 
jealous, and are very prompt to resent any freedom taken with their 
wives. Their quarrels for the most part are occasioned by the fair 
sex, and being the cause, they usually are the greatest sufferers ; for 
the waddy is applied to their heads in a most unmerciful style, and 
few old women are to be seen who do not bear unquestionable marks 
of the hard usage they have received. The husband who suspects 
another of seducing his wife, either kills one or both. The affair is 
taken up by the tribe, if the party belongs to another, who inflict 
punishment on him in the following manner. 

The guilty party is furnished with a shield, and made to stand at a 
suitable distance, and the whole tribe cast their spears at him ; his 

vol. ii. 52 


expertness and activity often enable him to escape any serious injury, 
but instances do occur in which the party is killed. Such punish- 
ments are inflicted with great formality, upon an appointed day, and 
the whole tribe assemble to witness it. The person most injured 
has the first throw, and it depends upon the feelings of the tribe 
respecting the offence committed, whether they endeavour to do 
injury to the culprit or not ; and thus it may be supposed that there 
is some judgment evinced in this mode of punishment. 

The following account of the burial of their dead, was received 
from the missionary, who was an eye-witness to it. He was called 
out one evening to see a native, who they said was dying. On 
repairing to the camp, he was too late, for the man was already 
dead, and notwithstanding the short space of time that had elapsed, 
the corpse was already wrapped lip for burial. The legs had been 
bent at the knees and hips, and tied to the body, and the head bent 
downwards towards the legs. In this position the corpse was enve- 
loped in a blanket, and bound round with many ligatures, so as to 
form a shapeless lump. There were about fifty natives present, 
seated within a small space in front. The women were raising 
dismal lamentations and cutting themselves with sharp sticks ; while 
the men were engaged in an earnest consultation as to the place 
which should be fixed upon for the burial. At length it was deter- 
mined to be on the banks of the Macquarie, at no great distance from 
the mission station. On the following day the missionary proceeded 
to the place, and found that the natives had already cleared the grass 
from a space about twenty feet in diameter ; in the centre of this the 
grave was marked out, of an oval shape, six feet long by three feet 
wide. After digging to the depth of about a foot, they left a ledge 
all around the grave of a few inches in width : the excavation thus 
diminished in size, was continued to the depth of five feet, the sides 
not being exactly perpendicular, but sloping slightly inwards. At 
the bottom of the grave was laid a bed of leaves covered with an 
opossum-skin cloak, and having a stuffed bag of kangaroo-skin for a 
pillow ; on this couch the body was laid, and the implements of 
hunting and war which the deceased had used during his lifetime 
were laid beside him. Leaves and branches of bushes were strewed 
over him, until the grave was filled up to the ledge or shelf above 
mentioned. Across the grave were laid strong stakes, with the ends 
resting on this shelf, and on these a layer of stones, which filled the 
hole to the level of the soil. The excavated earth was then put over 


the whole, forming a conical heap eight or nine feet high. The trees 
on each side were marked with irregular incisions, but whether 
intended as symbols, or merely to identify the place of sepulture, was 
not understood. All the time this was going on, fires were kept 
burning around the place, to drive away evil spirits, and the women 
and children ut'ered loud lamentations, inflicting at the same time 
wounds upon themselves. When the grave was completed, all the 
women and children were ordered away, and the missionary, perceiv- 
ing that it was expected that he would do the same, retired also. His 
presumption was that they intended to give utterance to their grief, 
and that they were ashamed to do it in his presence, or before the 
women and children. 

The day after the burial the natives visited every spot in which 
they recollected to have seen the deceased, and fumigated it, for the 
purpose of driving away the evil spirits. They even went into the 
missionaries' houses, greatly to the annoyance of the ladies. 

Their style of mourning consists in bedaubing themselves with 
pipe-clay ; and a more hideous object than an old woman thus tricked 
out can hardly be conceived. The body and limbs are streaked with 
it, and the face completely covered as with a mask, in which holes 
are left for the eyes, nostrils, and mouth. The mask is gradually 
removed, until the last that is seen of it is a small patch on the top 
of the head. 

They have some idea of a future state, although some assert that 
the whole man dies, and that nothing is left of him ; while others are 
of opinion that his spirit yet lives, either as a wandering ghost or in 
a state of metamorphosis, animating a bird or other creature of a 
lower order than man. 

Their opinions on religious subjects generally partake of the same 
unsettled character, which makes it very difficult to obtain any clear 
idea of them. The great difficulty is the unwillingness of the natives 
to talk upon the subject, either from superstition or shame ; and it is 
the opinion of the missionaries that no full account of their religkms 
notions will be obtained, until one of the well-informed adults is 
converted to Christianity, an event which is not soon to be expected. 
The missionaries have had little or no success ; none of the adults 
have hitherto shown any desire to embrace Christianity ; and it is 
remarked, that there appears to be a want of susceptibility in their 
character to religious impressions. Some of their ceremonies which 
partook of that character have been discontinued of late years, and no 



others have been adopted in their place. They have, however, some 
indistinct notions of a Deity. The missionaries at Wellington have 
heard from them of a being whom they call Bai-a-mai, and whom, 
with his son Burambin, they deem the creator of all things. To this 
Bai-a-mai they pay a land of annual worship by dancing and singing 
a song in his honour. This song, they say, was brought from a 
distant country by strangers who went about teaching it. This 
annual worship took place in the month of February, and all who 
did not join in it were supposed to incur the displeasure of the god. 

Bai-a-mai was supposed to live on an island beyond the great sea 
of the coast, and to eat fish, which, when he required food, came up 
at his call from the water. Burambin, others say, was brought into 
existence by Bai-a-mai, when the missionaries first came to Wel- 

Dararwirgal is a brother of Bai-a-mai, and lives in the far west. 
To him they ascribe the origin of the small-pox, which has made 
such ravages among them. They say that he was vexed for want 
of a tomahawk, and therefore sent that disease among them; but 
they now suppose that he has obtained one, and that the disease will 
come no more. 

Balumbals are angels, said to be white, who live on a mountain to 
the southwest, at a great distance. Their food is honey, and their 
employment like that of the missionaries. 

Wandong is their evil spirit, whom they have learnt from the 
whites to call the " Devil." They describe him as a gigantic black 
man, always prowling about at night, ready to seize and devour any 
unfortunate wanderer. So great is their horror of this imaginary 
being, that they never venture from their fires at night, except under 
the pressure of great necessity, when they always carry a firebrand 
to intimidate the monster. 


Qe0 g»pl.ecJt 1' 








18 39. 

New South Wales is known in the United States almost by its 
name alone. 

It happened from the circumstances of our visit, that we were 
enabled to obtain much information in relation to this rising colony. 

Australia, or New Holland, of which New South Wales is as yet 
the most important part, requires no description of its dimensions 
and geographical position. It is sufficient to note the fact that it 
possesses a sea-coast of the vast extent of eight thousand miles. It 
was first discovered by the Dutch, while engaged in exploring the 
coast of New Guinea, who saw the portion of it to the south of 
Endeavour Straits, and gave it a name from that of their own 
country, in 1606. A few months after this discovery, Louis de 
Torres made the northeastern point of Atistralia. 

In 1616, Theodoric Hartog fell in with that part of the western 
coast which lies between the Tropic and latitude 28° S. This he 
called Endracbt's Land, after the name of his vessel. 

In 1618, the coast between latitude 11° and 15° S., reaching from 
the Gulf of Carpentaria to Cape Talbot, was seen by Zeachem. 

In 1628, De Witt and Carpenter discovered that part of the 
western coast known as De Witt's Land, and surveyed the Gulf of 

In 1667, Van Nuyt sailed along the southern coast, from Cape 
Leeuwin to Spencer's Gulf; and to this part of Australia his name 
has of late been restored upon the maps. 

Tasman, in 1642, discovered Van Diemen's Land, which was long 


after considered to be connected with the main land of Australia. 
Finally, between 1766 and 1770, after an interval of a century, 
during which no researches had been made, and some of the dis- 
coveries already mentioned had been forgotten, Cook explored the 
eastern coast, from Cape Home to Cape York, and called its whole 
extent New South Wales. 

Researches were again suspended until after the establishment of 
the convict colony, and in 1798 Flinders and Bass discovered the 
straits which bear the name of the latter, which separate Van 
Diemen's from the main land, and sailed around that island. To the 
country adjacent to these straits, the name of Bass's Land was given ; 
and in 1803, Grant explored the coast to the west of it. Flinders, 
who was for several years engaged in making surveys on the eastern 
coast, also connected the land discovered by Grant, with that of Van 
Nuyt, and re-examined the latter. It is to Flinders that we owe our 
most precise knowledge of the general geographical features of the 
eastern and southern coast of Australia ; and since the close of his 
labours, Captain P. P. King, of H. B. M. Navy, has been engaged, 
and other officers are now assiduously employed, in surveying the 
northern coast. The interior, as has been already stated, has been 
made the subject of numerous exploring tours by the surveyors of 
the colony, and other persons employed by the British government. 

The territory included under the name of New South Wales is the 
eastern portion of Australia, and extends from the twenty-third to the 
thirty-eighth degree of south latitude. The power of its governor, 
however, extends further, and within his jurisdiction are included the 
whole eastern coast, from Cape York to Wilson's Promontory, or 
between latitude 10° 37' S., and 39° 2' S. ; with the country inland 
as far as the meridian of 129° E. Moreton Bay on the northern, and 
Port Philip on the southern coast, with Norfolk Island, and all 
others between it and the coast, are also placed under his authority. 

The epoch whence the history of the colony dates, is the year 1787, 
when the eastern coast was chosen by the British government as the 
site of a penal colony ; the convicts hold so prominent a part in 
the events which have occurred since that period, that their history 
may be almost considered as that of New South Wales. 

Botany Bay, in consequence of extravagant ideas formed of its 
excellence as a harbour, and the fertility of the country around it, 
was the portion chosen for the settlement. The first gang of convicts 
sent out was composed of six hundred male and two hundred and 


fifty female criminals, who were guarded by a body of troops con- 
sisting of two hundred officers and soldiers. About forty of the 
soldiers were married, and had their wives and children with them. 
The whole were under the direction of Captain Philips, who held the 
appointment of governor. 

The expedition, in conformity to the instructions, proceeded in the 
first instance to Botany Bay. This, to their disappointment, was 
found an unsafe harbour ; and the country far from suitable for the 
intended purpose. On exploring the coast, they unexpectedly found, 
about seven miles to the northward, a capacious and beautiful 
harbour, which Cook had reported as fit only for boats ; this, which 
they called Port Jackson, proved to be adapted to the intended 
purpose, and to it they removed. The people of the colony were 
landed on the 26th of January, 1788. The Governor delivered an 
address to his settlers on the 7th of February, strongly recommend- 
ing marriage to the convicts ; and in consequence of this admonition, 
fourteen marriages took place the succeeding week. 

In 1790, one of the severe droughts to which the country is liable 
occurred, and the colony was reduced to great distress for provisions. 
All the live stock, which had been imported for breeding, was killed 
off for food, and the inhabitants were reduced to an ear of corn per day. 
From the exhaustion which prevailed, all labour was suspended. 

In February, 1792, the first lieutenant-governor arrived. " He was 
also commandant of the New South Wales corps. This corps was 
specially raised for service in the colony, and was one of the greatest 
evils under which it suffered for many years. 

In December, 1792, Governor Philips returned to England. 

In September, 1795, Governor Hunter arrived, and assumed the 
direction of affairs. His administration lasted until 1802. 

During the interregnum between Governors Philips and Hunter, 
Captain Paterson acted as governor. 

In 1794, the first free settlers arrived in the colony. 

The officers of the New South Wales corps soon became mer- 
chants, and dealt in all that was issued from the public stores. Rum 
was the great article of traffic; and an act was passed, that on the 
arrival of any vessel with stores, an issue of spirits from her cargo 
should be made to each officer in proportion to his rank. 

The officers also obtained the manifest of every vessel that arrived, 
selected what they thought proper from her cargo, and afterwards 
disposed of it to the soldiers, settlers, and convicts, at a large profit. 

vol.. ii. 54 


They claimed the privilege of importing spirits, which was refused 
to others, and of selling it to the non-commissioned officers, many of 
whom held licenses to sell spirits by retail. In this way, many of 
the officers of the New South Wales corps realized large sums by 
trade, and counteracted all the endeavours of the governor to effect a 
reform in the colony. 

In September, 1800, Captain King assumed his duties as governor, 
and during the whole of his administration, which lasted till 1806, 
provisions continued to be imported into the colony at the expense of 
the home government, principally from the Cape of Good Hope and 

The military were gradually acquiring more power, and their 
officers generally set the laws at defiance, assuming the right of 
landing spirits from every vessel that arrived. Governor King 
endeavoured to put a stop to this practice ; but the military, who had 
become powerful and influential, overawed him. In an evil hour, 
hoping to check their power and influence, he gave licenses not only 
to the constables, but to the jailer, to sell rum ; and the latter, it is 
said, was allowed to keep a public tap-room opposite the jail door. 

In consequence of this state of things, the Governor's power was 
very much weakened, if not entirely destroyed, and the whole settle- 
ment was thrown into confusion. The convicts were under no 
efficient control, and bands of them, under the name of Bush 
Rangers,* traversed the country, and entered the houses of the 
settlers even in the open day, committing the most fearful atrocities. 
Anarchy and confusion reigned every where. 

The Castle Hill convicts now mutinied, but were overcome, and 
some of them executed. 

Captain Bligh, R. N. (who had commanded the Bounty), suc- 
ceeded Captain King. During his administration, rum was the 
medium of exchange, and the settlers had no other purchasers for 
their produce but the privileged dealers in that article, who took 
every advantage of them. 

In 1807, two stills for manufacturing spirits were imported by Mr. 

* The Bush Rangers are still very troublesome at times. In addition to the runaway 
convicts, of which their bands are principally composed, they also include soldiers who 
have deserted. They occasionally commit great barbarities, and are consequently much 
dreaded. . Few indeed of the lonely settlements are safe from their depredations. In 
order to suppress them, there is a body of mounted police ; but its numbers are too small 
to put an effectual stop to the evil. 


M' Arthur and Captain Abbot, of the 102d regiment. The governor 
seized them, and prohibited distillation in the colony. Much dis- 
content grew out of this prohibition ; and other difficulties occurred, 
which resulted in the arrest of Governor Bligh, by the military, and 
other turbulent persons in the colony, in 1808. The home govern- 
ment now saw the necessity of putting down this lawless spirit, and 
reinstated Governor Bligh ; but although he was also promoted to the 
rank of admiral, he is said to have died of a broken heart. 

Governor Macquarie was his successor. He seems to have 
endeavoured to build up Sydney and Paramatta at the expense of the 
morals of the community, and appears to have discouraged free 
emigration. The emancipated convicts were admitted by him to the 
same privileges and immunities as the free settlers ; and he treated 
the whole colony as if it were the gift of the mother country to those 
of her subjects who had outraged her laws. This policy soon had its 
effect at home, where it is said that crimes were committed in the 
hope of being sentenced to transportation ; and it is asserted that the 
emancipated convicts, known as ticket-of-leave men, were much more 
desirably situated than honest persons of their own rank of life in 
the mother country. Many of these in consequence wrote to their 
friends to come out to them, and pointed out the means of doing so at 
the expense of the crown. This state of things was offensive to the 
free settlers, who opposed the endeavours of the colonial government 
to break down the distinctions that naturally exist between the 
polluted and unpolluted. Their repugnance was increased by the 
attempt, on the part of the emancipated convicts, to make property 
the only qualification for acquiring civil and political rights. So 
strongly was the line of distinction drawn by the free settlers at that 
time, that it remains unbroken to the present day, and affects even 
the third and fourth generation. From the countenance shown to 
the convicts by Governor Macquarie, their minds have become 
impressed with the idea that the colony is intended for their benefit ; 
and they consider that they have the best right to administer the 
government, while the free emigrants in their opinion are interfering 
with their rights, by occupying all places of emolument and trast. 
Sufficient interest was excited by the complaints of the free emigrants 
to cause a commission of inquiry to be appointed. Much good 
resulted from its action, and a settled policy was at length adopted in 
relation to the treatment of the convicts. 

Governor Macquarie was succeeded, in 1821, by Sir Thomas Bris- 


bane, dimng whose administration all restrictions on the press were 

In 1824, by an act of Parliament, a Supreme Court was established, 
having equity, common law, admiralty, and ecclesiastical jurisdiction. 
Trial by jury was authorized under certain limitations, and the Legis- 
lative Council instituted. This was a great improvement upon the 
former system, and reduced the power of the Governor, which had 
before been absolute, while it at the same time gave him the best 

The Legislative Council consisted of the Governor, with three civil 
officers, and three gentlemen not holding office. The establishment 
of this body was a step towards a constitutional form of government. 
It continued in the original form, until, by an act of Parliament in 
1828, it was increased to not less than ten or more than fifteen mem- 
bers, all of whom were appointed by the crown. At the same time 
an Executive Council was created, and in these two bodies the 
government of the colony is still vested. 

During the administration of Sir Thomas Brisbane and Sir Ralph 
Dai-ling, many improvements in policy took place. Among them 
were inducements to free settlers, and many officers of the army and 
navy, with other respectable persons, received grants of land. The 
acquisition of a population of a better character furnished the means 
of enforcing the laws, and removed the necessity of employing those 
who had been guilty of crime, to effect its suppression. A better 
state of things succeeded. Agriculture, and particularly the raising 
of herds and flocks, were promoted by the facilities afforded by the 
government under the assignment system; and the resources of the 
colony were developed, particularly in the growth of wool, which 
has now become its great staple. The success of these agricultural 
efforts, excited in England, particularly among its manufacturers, a 
more direct interest in the colony, and attracted much attention to it ; 
in consequence of which the Australian Agricultural Company, in 
which many influential persons in England became interested, was 
incorporated under a royal charter. The avowed objects of this as- 
sociation were to further the improvement of the cultivation of land 
in New South Wales, and the rearing of cattle, horses, and fine- 
wooled sheep. The capital of the Company was a million of pounds 
sterling and govern ment agreed to grant in addition a million of 
acres of land, in any part of the territory that might be selected. 

The agent of the Company, Mr. Dawson, commenced operations in 


1826, at Port Stephens, to the north of Hunter's River, on a tract 
selected by him and the surveyor-general ; he continued to manage 
their affairs until 1829, when, in consequence of a misunderstanding 
between Mr. Dawson and the Company, growing out of the unavoida- 
ble difficulties he had to contend with, and the many misrepresenta- 
tions made by his enemies, he was removed, and Sir Edward Parry, 
the celebrated polar navigator, appointed in his stead. 

Sir Edward Parry continued in the management until 1836, when 
he retired, and was succeeded by Captain P. P. King, the able sur- 
veyor, and who still conducts the affairs of the Company. I regretted 
much not having been able to accept of the pressing invitation to 
visit Captain King. It affords me great pleasure to bear testimony to 
the correctness of his charts and sailing directions, which I have on 
several occasions been called upon to verify and trust to in navigating 
the squadron. 

The difficulties encountered by Mr. Dawson, were chiefly owing 
to the excessive droughts that occurred in the years 1827, 1828, and 
1829. In these years there was in some districts an entire, and in 
others a partial failure of the crops, while the pasture-grounds were 
all dried up. 

At other times, continued rains would cause great floods ; whole 
districts of country were overflowed ; and along the rivers, not only 
stacks of grain, but the buildings, were swept away. From this it 
may be easily understood what difficulties the settlers of this country 
have to contend with. To these also are to be added the contests 
between the two parties, as to whether this shall remain a penal 
colony or become a free one. 

It is only to be wondered that it should have continued to flourish, 
notwithstanding all the impediments it has met with from misrule 
and anarchy, growing out of a neglect to establish any well-combined 
system of policy in its early stages. The governors, for want of any 
positive enactments, were left free to adopt such measures as circum- 
stances might dictate, and having their attention engrossed by the 
difficulties with which they were continually surrounded, were com- 
pelled to neglect the improvement of society, and took no pains to 
frame prospective regulations for the well-being of the colony. 

In 1831, Governor Darling was superseded by Sir Richard Bourke. 
The country had, during the administration of his two predecessors, 
improved rapidly by the aid of convict labour. When the latter gen- 

vol. ii. 55 


tleman came into office, the policy of selling lands, instead of making 
free grants, was adopted ; this was considered an important change for 
the colony. 

The money arising from the sales of land was set apart hy the home 
government, to be applied to the immigration of free settlers; but great 
complaints have been made that this fund has been diverted from the 
original object, or that a surplus remained in the government coffers 
unexpended. Labour is, in consequence, in the greatest demand in 
all parts of the colon)', and the inconveniences of convict labour begin 
to show themselves. From what I could understand, the assignment 
system is getting into disrepute, and all the respectable settlers are 
now turning their attention to the moral condition of the colony. 
Strong representations have been made to the home government, and 
an act has been passed, by which New South Wales is no longer to 
be a penal settlement, and transportation thither is to cease. The 
only points that are now used for this purpose are Moreton Bay and 
Norfolk Island. 

The principles upon which free grants are made, have been subject 
to great fluctuation. In Governor Macquarie's time, no grants to a 
single individual could exceed one hundred and fifty acres. Many 
of the difficulties and evils that resulted from these free grants, are 
said to have grown out of his disposition (miscalled humane), which 
led him to view the convicts as men in misfortune, rather than as the 
outcasts of society. 

His regulations in entering on his duties were explicit, " that a 
convict should receive a grant of land only, when from good conduct 
and a disposition to industry he should be found deserving of favour, 
and of receiving emancipation." In contradiction to the spirit of this 
regulation, he made grants of land to any emancipated convicts, and 
even appointed them to office as constables, &c! These emancipa- 
tions were easily obtained, and transportation became, as has already 
been stated, rather a reward than a punishment for crime. Instead 
of bestowing his indulgences only on the deserving, a rule of action 
which, if strictly carried into execution, would have been productive 
of good, both to the rising community and the convicts themselves, 
he dispensed his favours indiscriminately. He committed a double 
error, when in addition he appointed them to office, thus placing 
them over their companions in crime. Good could not be expected 
to result from such a course, and the profusion with which land was 


distributed among the whole class of emancipated convicts, whether 
they had been set free before the expiration of their term for good 
behaviour, or had served their time out, produced positive injury. 

During our stay at Sydney, a convict-ship arrived; and being 
desirous of obtaining a view of her accommodations, and the mode of 
treating the convicts, I visited her. This vessel was prepared ex- 
pressly for the purpose. Between decks, a strong grated barricade, 
well spiked with iron, is built across the ship at the steerage bulk- 
head. This affords the officers a free view of all that is going on 
among the prisoners. 

Bunks for sleeping are placed on each side all the way to the bow, 
resembling those in a guard-room. Each of these will accommodate 
five persons. There is no outlet but through a door in the steerage 
bulkhead, and this is always guarded by a sentrj^. Light and air are 
admitted through the hatches, which are well and strongly grated. 
The guard is under the command of a sergeant, and is accommodated 
in the steerage, the whole being under the orders of a surgeon, whose 
duty it is to superintend and regulate every thing that relates to the 
prisoners, inspect the ship daily, and administer punishment, even 
unto death if necessary. The surgeon also has control over the master 
of the vessel, and his regulations. The master and mates, on receiv- 
ing a certificate from the surgeon, are allowed a small sum for every 
convict landed, in addition to their pay. 

The criminals have prison fare, and are supplied with wooden-ware 
for their eating utensils, which are kept in very nice order. The 
quarter-deck is barricadoed near the main-mast, abaft of which all the 
arms and accoutrements of the guard and vessel are kept. The 
master and officers are usually lodged in the poop-cabin. The 
prisoners are habituated to the discipline of the ship, on board the 
hulks, before leaving England. The usual, and most effectual, punish- 
ment for misbehaviour, is to place the culprit in a narrow box on 
deck, in which he is compelled to stand erect. This punishment is 
said to be effectual in reducing the most refractory male convicts to 
order, but it was not found so efficacious in the female convict-ship ; 
for, when put in the box, they would bawl so loudly, and use their 
tongues so freely, that it was found necessary to increase the punish- 
ment by placing a cistern of water on the top of the box. This was 
turned over upon those who persisted in using their tongues, and 
acted on the occupant as a shower-bath, the cooling effect of which 
was always and quickly efficacious in quieting them. I was informed 


that more than two such showers were never required to subdue the 
most turbulent. 

I was struck with the ruddy, healthy, and athletic looks of the 
young convicts that were arriving, and from their deportment and 
countenances I should hardly have been inclined to believe that they 
had been the perpetrators of heinous crimes. 

I am not at all surprised that many of the settlers of the colony 
should be opposed to the change in the assignment system ; for when 
such a fine body of men is seen, the reason is easily understood, as 
the possession of such strong and hale persons to all intents and 
purposes as slaves, and at the expense of their maintenance alone, 
must be very lucrative to those requiring labourers. I am, on the other 
hand, at a loss to conceive how the assignment system can be looked 
upon in any other light than as a great evil, which must be abolished 
if it be designed to make the inhabitants of New South Wales a 
moral community, and to reform the convicts. It acts most unequally 
on the parties, and is a barrier to the reformation that the punishment 
of transportation is intended to effect. 

The convicts on arriving are sent to the barracks at Sydney. The 
government selects from them such mechanics as are required for the 
public service, and then the numerous applicants for labourers are 
supplied. Those assigned to private employers, are sent to the 
interior under the charge of a constable or overseer. 

They build their own huts, and the climate being very fine, require 
but little shelter. The hours of labour are from six to six, and the 
quantity of labour exacted from them is about two-thirds of what 
would be required in England. They are treated in all respects as if 
they were free, and no restraint is imposed, except that they cannot 
leave their masters, who, when they have no further use for them, 
return them to the government to be reassigned. 

When on ticket of leave, they may reside in any place they choose 
to select. 

The convict's time of probation depends upon the original term of 
his sentence ; but on a commission of crime within the colony, it 
begins from his last conviction. For refractory conduct, they may 
be taken to the nearest magistrate, who orders punishment on the 
oath of the master. The magistrate has also power to send them to 
the nearest chain-gang employed on public works. Here they are 
worked in irons, and kept on scanty food for a limited period, after 
which they may be returned to their masters. If badly treated, 


the convict may have the affair investigated, but redress comes 

One of the great evils of the system is, that many of the convicts 
on arriving are assigned to persons in Sydney and other towns, the 
consequence of which is that they are exposed to the contaminations 
and temptations that are likely to beset them in those thickly-peopled 
places, and this too only a few months after their conviction in the 
mother country. This influence removes all hopes of reform, and they 
are usually soon found among the criminals of New South Wales. 

All persons who are landholders may receive convicts as assigned 
servants, in the proportion of one to every three hundred and twenty 
acres, but no one proprietor can have in his employ more than 
seventy-five convicts. 

Written application for labourers is made to the Board, and the 
applicants must bind themselves to keep the assigned convict for at 
least one month, and to furnish him with food and clothing agreeably 
to the government regulations, which are as follows, viz. : 

The weekly rations consist of twelve pounds of wheat, or nine 
pounds of seconds flour ; or, in lieu thereof, at the discretion of the 
master, three pounds of maize meal, and nine pounds of wheat, or 
seven pounds of seconds flour; with seven pounds of beef or mutton, 
and four pounds of corned pork, two ounces of salt, and two ounces 
of soap. 

The clothing for a year is as follows, viz. : two frocks or jackets, 
three shirts, of strong linen or cotton, two pair of trousers, three pair 
of shoes, of stout durable leather, one hat or cap, and the use of a good 
blanket and mattrass belonging to the master. 

Custom, however, has extended the above allowances, and the 
quantity of luxuries added in tobacco, sugar, tea, and grog, makes 
the amount nearly double. These additions have become absolutely 
necessary in order to procure work from the convicts, and the free 
supply of them is the only way in which they can be made to work 
in the harvest season. I was informed that a settler considered it all- 
important to have a large stock of these luxuries on hand at the 
season of pressure ; for although the assigned servants do not actually 
refuse to work, they do so little, that, in order to save his crop, the 
master must yield them the extra indulgences. 

Another evil attendant on the assignment system is the difference 
in the treatment they receive from those to whom they are assigned. 
On the arrival of a convict-ship, a large number of persons who have 

vol. ii. 56 


made applications to the Board, are in waiting ; they of course know 
nothing of the character of the convicts, and, as I learned from a good 
source, no record is kept, or sent with the convicts themselves. The 
Board is entirely ignorant of their character or crimes, and thus can 
exercise no discrimination in assigning the convict to the hands of a 
good or of a hard master. The greatest villains may, therefore, fall 
into kind hands, while one who is comparatively innocent may suffer 
much more than he deserves. 

The punishment of transportation must continue very unequal until 
a classification be resorted to. Many convicts, by bad treatment are 
confirmed in their vices. 

For any misbehaviour, they are, as has been seen, subject to severe 
castigation upon their master's making oath before a magistrate. This 
not unfrequently drives the culprit or convict to further crime, and in 
revenge for these wrongs, he either neglects his master's interest, or 
has been known to set fire to his harvest when gathered. 

The present system appears fitted to entail evil and misery on the 
colony, and there are few disinterested men who do not view it as 
calculated to prevent any moral improvement. Murders, robberies, 
and frauds are brought about by it, for which extreme punishments 
are of such frequent occurrence that it is a matter of astonishment 
that a stranger should remark that an execution had taken place. 
The day before our arrival five criminals had been hung, and more 
were to suffer in a few days. 

These executions take place without causing any unusual excite- 
ment, There is little doubt that the convict population contains 
among its members many of the most abandoned wretches, and I am 
also aware that the Governor and Council are making every exertion 
to put a stop to the immorality and vice which so generally prevail ; 
yet I am satisfied that the convicts who are assigned are, in some 
cases, goaded on to crime by the treatment they receive from their 
masters, who hold them as slaves, and degrade them to the level of 
the beast with whom they are forced to labour. 

Although Great Britain has a right to assume a proud pre-emi- 
nence in her exertions to emancipate the blacks, yet it behooves her 
to look to her penal settlements, and examine into the tyranny and 
degradation that a large number of her subjects are suffering there, 
many of them for slight crimes. 

Few except those who have visited this colony can be aware of the 
extent to which the lash is administered, and oftentimes on the mere 


pretence of unruly and bad behaviour to their masters, or for the most 
trivial offences. So many facts of this sort were stated to me by 
persons in office, and of the highest respectability, that there cannot 
be a doubt of their correctness. The following extract from a report 
of the Committee of Transportation in 1835 will show it in its true 

"In 1835, the number of convicts in the colony of New South 
Wales was above twenty-eight thousand, and the summary convic- 
tions in that year were estimated at twenty-two thousand. In one 
month in 1833, two hundred and forty-seven convicts were flogged, 
and nine thousand seven hundred and eighty-four lashes inflicted, 
which would make for the whole year two thousand nine hundred 
and sixty-four floggings, and about one hundred and eight thousand 
lashes. This amount does not embrace one-third of the convicts 
convicted summarily, but only those sentenced to be flogged, and 
there yet remains those to be added who were sentenced to other 
degrees of punishment ; male convicts to the iron-gangs, and tread- 
mill, and females to the solitary cells of the factory." 

The inquiries that I made in relation to the native-born inhabitants, 
were universally answered by all in favour both of their morals and 
habits. Judge Burton bears testimony that the free emigrants and 
native colonists are as exempt from the commission of crime as the 
inhabitants of any other country. 

The defect in the female assignments is equally obvious. They 
are assigned only to married settlers who are considered respectable. 
They are accompanied by their children from the mother country, but 
immediately upon arriving the assignment takes place, and as the 
party to whom the convict is assigned does not wish to be encumbered 
with her offspring, they are at once separated. The child is not unfre- 
quently removed from the mother when at the breast, and taken to the 
factory at Paramatta, where convicts' children are nursed and brought 
up. The mother is thus severed from her progeny for months, and, 
perhaps, for ever. The scenes that occur at these separations are often 
heart-rending, and ought to condemn the whole system. The feelings 
of the poor creatures may be more readily conceived than described. 

Connected with the convict system, are the convict prisons, where 
the road and iron-gangs are lodged for safe keeping. There is one 
on the hill at Sydney, which, like most of the buildings at Sydney, 
bears the name of Governor Macquarie, 1817. In it are shown the 
guard-room, the working and eating-rooms, and dormitories, all of 


which are well ventilated. The prisoners sleep in hammocks, swung 
from parallel bars a few feet above the floor. A whipping-post was 
shown in an adjoining yard. The older prisoners are kept at work 
making brooms. 

The female convicts who do not conduct themselves well, are sent 
back to the factory at Paramatta, where they are engaged in prison 
labour. The practice of keeping them in great numbers there, after 
they have been sent back, is liable to many objections, and is not 
calculated to produce reformation. It is very questionable whether 
their employment in small parties would not have a greater tendency 
to produce the desired reform. 

The factory at Paramatta is situated on the river, about half a mile 
from the centre of the town, near the place where the steamboats 
stop. It is a large stone building, enclosed with high walls, and 
usually contains one thousand inmates. A part of these are those 
female convicts who have not yet been assigned ; and the rest, those 
who have been remanded for their refractory conduct. Many of the 
settlers have, from necessity, taken these females into their service, 
and have been quite glad to get rid of them ; for their corrupting 
influence had often resulted in the total ruin of the male servants who 
had been assigned in the same family. 

It is only lately that good order has been introduced into this 
establishment, and this is owing to the supervision and care of Sir 
George Gipps. The accounts of the disorder in it in former times 
are truly disgusting. 

These females are now divided into three classes, according to their 
ability and behaviour, of which the latter is more especially attended 
to. The first class is employed in making linen clothing, such as 
shirts, children's clothes, &c, and do much work for the shop-keepers 
in Sydney. The second, in making up coarse articles of apparel for 
government, and shop-keepers ; the third, in picking oakum, washing 
for the establishment, and plaiting straw. 

It would be difficult to imagine a more hideous community ; and 
those who visited this establishment could scarcely realize the possi- 
bility that Great Britain could have produced such an assemblage of 
ugly creatures. It is hardly conceivable, that the feminine character 
could ever have existed under faces, in which all traces of gentle 
expression have long since been annihilated, and where the counte- 
nance now indicates only the prevalence of the baser passions. 

Some of the rooms were crowded, the inmates sitting on two rows 


of benches. Upon our entrance they discontinued their occupations, 
and saluted us with disgusting; leering faces, staring at us with a 
malignity and hatred that were not soon forgotten. 

The rooms appeared well ventilated, and scrupulously clean. I 
"wish I could say as much for the prisoners themselves, but they were 
dirty and slovenly in their appearance, and were clothed in a coarse 
drugget gown, a cap and neckerchief of cotton. 

The discipline is very strict, and maintained by a person who at 
one time was the most unmanageable convict they ever had confined 
there. She now holds the place of matron, and has the management 
of the females, under the supervision of Mr. Bell, who is the superin- 
tendent of the whole establishment. 

Until she was appointed, no sort of order was maintained. We 
understood that her conduct has been excellent since she filled the 
place. She is a tall masculine woman, of some intelligence, and has 
a watchfulness of manner that shows she is an adept at her busi- 
ness. She told us that the punishment for misconduct was solitary 
confinement, on bread and water, and for smaller misdemeanours, 
working at the crank of the pumps which supply the establishment 
with water. 

The children are in a room by themselves, and there are about one 
hundred of them, from the infant to the child of seven or eight years 
of age. They all looked healthy, were very playful, and appeared to 
be well taken care of. There are twenty nurses who attend to 
them. It gave us much pleasure, when the matron entered with us, 
to see them all come running up to her, demonstrating her kind 
treatment of them, and the affection they bear her. 

To Mr. Bell, the superintendent, we were much indebted for his 
civility. He appeared well qualified for the management of so ex- 
tensive and difficult a concern. He explained every thing to us, 
answering the numerous questions put to him with great pleasure 
and politeness. This visit was particularly gratifying, as affording a 
view of one of the most important features of this great penal esta- 

Around Paramatta and Sydney, another such feature is to be seen 
in the iron-gangs. These consist of the men who have not been 
assigned, and likewise of all those who are returned by their masters. 
They are met with upon the roads, working in pairs, chained together. 
Their dress is peculiar, and they, in consequence, cannot readily 
escape detection in case of absconding. On the back of the jacket is 

vol. ii. 57 


marked, in conspicuous letters, " chain-gang." They wear a canvass 
jacket and trousers, and a jockey-cap. They were a rough-looking 
set, with bad countenances, and, like all other prisoners, stared us 
broadly in the face. Sentinels or guards constantly acccompanied 

The English are very partial to this mode of treating criminals, 
and cannot be persuaded that any better course can be devised ; yet it 
is attended with obvious evils. 

For a trifling and first offence, a perpetual brand of infamy is set 
upon a fellow-mortal, his family, and connexions. The natural 
consequence has been, to foster and keep alive, a public opinion 
which tends to the disorganization of society, and to obliterate all that 
remains of principle in the criminal. 

The convict who has just arrived, is regarded by the others as a 
simpleton and a mere novice; and they undertake to complete his 

The exploits and crimes performed and committed by these hard- 
ened offenders in Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of Poly- 
nesia, exhibit a dark picture ; and the annoyance thus inflicted upon 
their inhabitants would not be borne, had they the strength to resist 
it. Power is the only right that can be urged by Great Britain as a 
justification of this infliction, and that it would be useless to question. 

The majority of convicts are either assigned servants, or ticket-of- 
leave men, and their condition is not unlike that of the slaves in our 
Southern States. They form a distinct class, and may be considered 
as the original groundwork of the colony. At present they constitute, 
about a third of the population, but when transportation ceases, their 
relative numbers will rapidly decrease. 

This colony, take it all in all, is in spite of these drawbacks a noble 
one, and is a new proof of the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race, 
and of its enterprise and perseverance in overcoming difficulties. 

I understood that Sir George Gipps had determined to adopt 
Captain Maconochie's system in the management of the road-gangs, 
and shall therefore proceed to examine it. 

Captain Maconochie's argument for the necessity of a change is 
founded on the admitted fact, that the example of severe suffering 
on the conviction of crime, has not hitherto been found effective in 
preventing its recurrence. He maintains that the sole and direct 
object of secondary punishments should be the reformation of the 
individual culprit, or at all events his subjugation, and his training to 


self-command, by the latter of which he may give satisfactory proof 
that he deserves a restoration to his privileges in society. He does not 
proscribe punishment, but on the contrary believes it indispensable 
to induce penitence and submission ; he regards it as necessary as a 
deterring example, and not for a vindictive end. 

An entire reform, or a self-control tantamount to it, can, in his 
opinion, be obtained only by specific punishments for the past, and 
by a training for the future. To effect this latter he proposes to 
group prisoners together in associations, made to resemble those of 
common life as closely as possible, subdividing them into small 
parties or families, as may be agreed on among themselves, with 
common interest ; that they shall receive wages in the form of marks 
of commendation, which they may exchange at will for immediate 
gratifications, but of which a fixed accumulation should be required 
before receiving freedom. He thus hopes to prepare them for society 
in society, giving them a field for the exercise and cultivation of 
social virtues, as well as for the voluntary restraint of vices. 

Captain Maconochie deems the union of punishment for the past, 
with training for the future, as totally incompatible with each other, 
and, therefore, thinks that the former must in all cases precede the 
latter, and be effectual of itself. He argues, that success in medical 
treatment by beginning to administer restoratives before the disease 
is eradicated, might as well be expected as reform while punishment 
is undergone ; and that it is just as necessary to prepare for society in 
society, as to train man by a preliminary education to the useful 
employments of life ; that it seems idle to expect that mere theoretical 
instruction, however strongly enforced by short but severe suffering, 
should be sufficient to enable persons advanced in life to guide their 
future conduct, as it would be to hope to teach a trade, or any other 
practical employment, by abstract rules ; and that moral lessons, to be 
taught profitably, require a field of progressive experimental applica- 
tion just as much as engineering. 

On these elementary principles Captain Maconochie founds his 
plan of convict management, to which he applies the name of 
" Social System," and trusts for its success to the application of 
moral force in the place of physical coercion. He considers that 
hitherto the reform of culprits has not been thought the principal 
object in regulating their treatment. 

The object of deterring from the commission of crime has been the 


duty of the law for the protection of society, and the association of 
prisoners has been deemed morally hurtful to them. 

The Social System proposes to change this course, to one, in fact, 
directly opposite to it. In criminal administration, according to his 
views, society is at present placed in one scale, and the culprit in the 
other, and it is not surprising that the weight of the former should 

He proposes, that the nature of the punishment should be severe 
and short ; that it should melt into probation, and this again into 
entire freedom, by changes as gradual as possible ; thus taking nature 
as the guide, and copying what occurs on any severe misfortune 
befalling us, at first overwhelming grief, then a retrospective one, 
which afterwards slowly gives place to hope and encouragement. 

To carry this out, it would be necessary to have solitary impri- 
sonment, with moral and religious exhortations inculcated during 
sequestration from external influences, with permission to work, and 
instructions in its performance, but without the power of exchanging 
the proceeds for indulgences; next, separate imprisonment, with the 
power of exchanging marks of good conduct for gratifications, to be 
prolonged until the accumulation of a certain number of marks over 
and above all those exchanged for indulgences, should exhibit the 
acquisition of habits of self-control. 

To this second stage should succeed social labour through the day, 
with separate confinement at night, and at length a complete admis- 
sion to a society, in which the convicts should choose their associates, 
and be mutually responsible for the good behaviour of each other. 

In passing through such a course of discipline, both of the ends 
which have been spoken of will be attained. The guilty will be first 
punished, and afterwards rendered fit for society by reformation and 
training, and will be thus restored to that state in which he was 
before he committed the crime, after he has been well tried and 
found worthy of being re-established in it. 

As far as I could understand, Captain Maconochie was not pre- 
pared to prescribe the exact manner in which his views were to be 
carried out, and did not appear to set much value upon the mode, 
provided his principles were kept, in view. He was of opinion that 
the principal error in modern penal science is the importance attached 
to physical arrangement in the construction of prisons. 

According to him, the less stress that is set upon them the better, 


for it is not the body alone that is to be kept captive, but the will 
also ; and the more care that is taken to guard the former, the less 
can the latter be attended to. 

The peculiar trait in the " Social System" is, that after punishment 
every culprit's lot would be in his own hands. His companions 
would be of his own choice, and the length of his detention and 
comfort would depend upon the conduct of himself and his associates. 

In seeking the reformation of the culprit, the mutual action of 
companions on each other would be resorted to, and this would be 
productive of great advantages. No system could be more just ; and 
its language to the criminal would be, — " Having made you pay the 
penalty for your crime, I now retain you until you are qualified to 
meet the requisitions of society on your return to it, that you may 
not fail as you have before done." 

The results of this system could not but be far different from the 
plans in present use, which have reference only to crime and 
retribution, and may be considered useless in promoting reformation. 
I understood that Sir George Gipps had already partially and suc- 
cessfully adopted the Social System with the convicts in government 
employ, by associating them in bands of ten to twenty, and letting 
them work on the public roads. Some of them were pointed out to 
me, and in point of appearance were as orderly and cheerful as any 
free labourers. I was informed that they do more work than when 
watched by overseers or soldiers. 

I saw, however, many iron-gangs, but was informed that they were 
composed of individuals who had committed offences in the colony. 
After the commission of several crimes in the colony, they are again 
transported to Norfolk Island, where Captain Maconochie is stationed ; 
and it may well excite surprise if he should succeed in reforming 
these double-refined villains. 

Many circumstances have been told me, by those who are well 
acquainted with the facts, that such is their detestation of Norfolk 
Island, and their horror of remaining there, that convicts have drawn 
lots to commit crimes, and even murder, in order to be sent back to 
Sydney for trial.* 

Captain Maconochie's system is looked upon by many as Utopian, 

* It is the intention of the government to erect on Norfolk Island a penitentiary, on 
the plan of that at Sing Sing, in the State of New York. The estimated cost was 

vol. ir. 58 


and it has excited no little astonishment that any one should conceive 
the idea of affording to criminals the refined amusements of society, 
or that books, music, &c, should be furnished them. 

I have given this short sketch of the Social System in order to show- 
its general plan. For a more full account of it, I would refer to 
Captain Maconochie's papers, published at different times. I spent 
several agreeable hours with him ; and am satisfied that with the well- 
educated description of criminals, and with those who may have 
friends to return to, it will probably answer ; but I am disposed to 
think that the great objection lies in the feelings of society, and 
its reluctance to readmit its outcasts on any terms, much less place 
them on a footing of equality. 

There are two forms of social management proposed, one by 
Captain Maconochie, the other by Lord Howick ; the former has 
been sufficiently explained. The latter includes both punishment 
and training in the insular penitentiaries, from which release may be 
complete ; or merely through the medium of a ticket-of-leave in the 

The latter form I believe is that which has been adopted, and from 
what I learn, it seems to be succeeding, although I have not been 
informed that any public account has yet been given of it. The 
system is about being adopted in Van Diemen's Land, which is a 
convincing proof that government has become somewhat satisfied 
with its efficacy ; and it is noticed in one of the late Gazettes, that 
Captain Maconochie had treated his prisoners on the Queen's birth- 
day (with the approbation of the government) to a play, and punch, 
which is a proof that some had already reached the probationary state. 

The ration of the soldiers in New South Wales consists of one 
pound of meat, one pound of bread, two-thirds of a pint of rum, and 
an allowance of five-pence for small stores, consisting of salt, sugar, 
tea, &c. They receive as pay eight-pence per day, and are obliged 
to serve twenty years before they can claim their discharge. 

The convict gets one pound of bread, one pound and a quarter of 
meat, and one pint of meal. Indeed, there is very little difference in 
the condition of a soldier and a convict, and were it not for the name, 
one would be almost induced to prefer the situation of the latter. 

There is a description of convicts, as has been mentioned, known 
under the title of ticket-of-leave men. These, from good behaviour 
before the expiration of their term of sentence, are permitted to hire 
themselves out, upon the employer entering into a stipulation to 


maintain a strict watch over them. This custom has no doubt been 
forced upon the community by the want of servants, and the 
necessity of obtaining them. The action of this part of the system 
will be shown more clearly by the following anecdote. 

One day, passing along George Street with a friend, my attention 
was called to a fashionable equipage, with a well-dressed man driving 
it. On my asking to whom it belonged, I was informed that the 
person driving it was the owner, and that although a ticket-of-leave 
man, he was married to a free woman of handsome fortune, living in 
one of the finest houses in Sydney ; that their house was built on the 
very spot where he stood under the gallows some years since, 
although through a reprieve, or some accident, he had not been hung ; 
and that it was at any time within the power of the wife to send him 
off to the whipping-post, and have him severely flogged. There are 
many convicts who are now the most wealthy people of New South 
Wales. I do not intend to be understood that they mix at all in the 
society of the better class. On the contrary, the convicts and their 
descendants, even to the third and fourth generation, are excluded 
from it. 

Society here is composed of many distinct circles. All those of 
the first class are entitled to be received at the Government House, or 
are invited there. This privilege seems at present to be the touchstone 
of gentility ; and if an inquiry is now made of the standing of any 
one, it is quite sufficient to say he visits at the Government House. 

Any connexion with convicts would at once preclude admission to 
this circle ; and so distinctly has this line been drawn, and so closely 
is it adhered to, that should an officer, or other person, contract 
marriage ties with any one of the lower classes, he would forthwith 
be shut out. This state of things naturally leads to many heart- 
burnings among the rising generation, who have every thing to 
recommend them but a pure descent ; whose behaviour is acknow- 
ledged by all to be irreproachable, and who among the community 
stand deservedly very high, some of them occupying posts of high 
trust and responsibility among men of business, and not a few of 
them being at the head of large moneyed institutions. 

These differences frequently break out when subscription balls are 
given, and result in challenges being sent to the managers. One oc- 
curred on the giving of the St. Patrick's ball. A Mr. D. was admitted 
as a subscriber by the committee ; he afterwards asked for a ticket for 
a friend of his, which was refused. Objections were then taken to 


himself, and he was requested to withdraw his name, and receive 
back his money. This brought forth a challenge, which was dis- 
posed of in a summary manner by the committee handing him over 
to the police, by which he was obliged to apologize to the committee, 
and bound over to keep the peace. I cannot but believe that this state 
of society is destined in a very short time to undergo a great change : 
and many of the inhabitants seem to be of the same opinion, par- 
ticularly if they obtain a colonial legislature. This it seems almost 
indispensable they should have, for the wishes and wants of the 
rising community are too little known and heeded, at the distance of 
sixteen thousand miles, to insure good government ; and the acts and 
varying policy of the mother country are so ill adapted to the state of 
things here, as to strike the most common observer, and only tend to 
loosen the ties of affection that bind the colonists to it. 

The introduction of free emigration, and the discontinuance of the 
use of the colony as a penal settlement, must soon produce the 
necessity of legislative bodies, and the elections will give the wealthy 
part of the citizens, emancipists and their descendants, a powerful 
voice in those bodies when constituted, which will finally lead to 
their amalgamation with the higher classes. I was surprised to find 
among the emancipists themselves the same distinctions kept up. 

The labouring class of free emigrants form another class. They 
have great difficulties to contend with on their landing. As few of 
them will consent to serve as domestics in association with ticket-of- 
leave men or convicts, they find themselves placed in many difficult 
situations. They are compelled to resort to the public inns kept by 
these people, who endeavour to take every advantage of them, and 
cause them to part with what little amount they may have brought 
with them from the mother country. They soon become destitute, 
and from disappointment betake themselves to all the vices of the con- 
vict class. Some steps have been taken to provide for the emigrants 
on their first arrival, under the government system ; but they have 
not yet been carried into effect, and it is difficult to enforce them. 

There is yet another class, and one, as far as my experience goes, 
now unknown elsewhere, which sets at defiance both law and regula- 
tions. I mean a class known here by the name of " Crimps," who 
are a pest to the trade of the port, and the destruction of all the sailors 
who visit it. Their trade or employment may be summed up in a 
few words. It is to entice or kidnap sailors from their ships, and 
keep them drunk and concealed in some out-of-the-way place. Whole 


crews of merchantmen are frequently carried off by these fellows, 
and they are in consequence at times detained until the master or 
assignee resorts to the agents of these crimps, who are ready to give 
them a crew at four or five guineas for each sailor. I was told, a 
few days after my arrival, that the crimps had determined to get 
some of the men of the squadron; and they succeeded in enticing 
away the crew of the tender Flying-Fish and three or four other 
men belonging to the ships. The vigilance and system of these 
crimps bid defiance to the laws and police, who although quite 
aware of the existence of the evil, find it out of their power to put a 
stop to it. Since my departure, the shipping interests have memo- 
rialized the Government and Council, and there is a prospect that this 
nuisance will be abated. 

As respects the higher class of society, it is in all respects the same 
as is met with in England and America, among well-educated per- 
sons. Perhaps as to fashion it is a little more colonial, but not more 
so than the distance from whence fashions originate would account 
for. The cordial welcome and hospitality we met with could not be 
surpassed any where. 

The Governor is appointed by letters patent, under the great 
seal of the United Kingdom ; but he acts under the direction of the 

The Legislative Council consists of a number not exceeding fifteen, 
and not less than ten ; the members are appointed by the King, and 
are all residents within the colony. 

The Governor is president of this council, and is entitled to vote as 
a member upon all questions; when it is equally divided, he has 
an additional or casting vote. To the Governor and Council is dele- 
gated the power to make laws, for the peace, welfare, and good 
government of the colony, not repugnant to any act, charter, &c, 
which may have been issued, or to the laws of England ; and no law 
or ordinance can be passed, unless first laid before the Council by the 

The Governor is, by statute, invested with the right of property in 
the services of offenders or convicts who have been transported, and he 
may assign this right to others. He is captain-general and governor- 
in-chief, and has full control over all the military and civil authori- 
ties. He is empowered, and required, to administer oaths to the Chief 
Justice, and the members of the Executive Council ; to keep the public 
seal ; and is invested with authority to suspend members of the Execu- 

vol. n. 59 


tive Council, and to supply their place, as well as to appoint tempo- 
rary members to fill vacancies. 

He appoints all justices of the peace, coroners, constables, and other 
necessary officers. 

He has the power to grant pardons, reprieves, &c, and to remit 
punishments for offences : treason, or wilful murder, only excepted ; 
for which, upon extraordinary occasions, he can reprieve until the 
pleasure of the crown be known. His power to shorten the time 
of transportation is limited, by the condition that all instruments in 
writing for that purpose are to be approved by the crown. 

With the advice of the Executive Council, he is empowered to 
divide the territory, and its dependencies, into districts, counties, 
towns, &c, to fortify and erect forts, and provide for the defence of 
the country. 

All public moneys are issued for the support of the government 
by warrant from the Governor, but only for purposes particularly 
pointed out. 

He may give titles to crown lands. He has also power to appoint 
fairs, marts, markets, ports, harbours, bays, and havens. 

The person who succeeds, in case of the death or absence of the 
Governor, is the Lieutenant-Governor, and next to him, the Com- 
mander of the Forces. 

The Executive Council consists of four persons holding office in 
the colony. 

1st. The senior officer of the Forces. 2d. The Bishop of Aus- 
tralia. 3d. The Colonial Secretary of New South Wales ; and 4th, 
the Colonial Treasurer ; the two latter for the time being. These are 
appointed by letters patent, under the great seal. It is a council of 
advice and restraint, and the matters on which they are to be con- 
sulted are especially mentioned in their commission. 

The Legislative Council consists of fifteen persons, including the 
Governor, seven of whom hold offices under the government, and 
during royal pleasure, viz. : 

1st. Chief Justice. 2d. Bishop of Australia. 3d. The Commander 
of the Forces. 4th. The Colonial Secretary. 5th. The Attorney- 
General. 6th. The Collector of the Customs 7th. The Auditor- 
General ; with seven others who do not hold offices, but are nominated 
by the crown. 

As is truly said in the colony, they are governed by the royal pre- 
rogative, exercised in the person of the Governor. 


The rules for his guidance, and that of all colonial officers, are 
issued by the Secretary of State, and are to be found in a pamphlet 
form, under the title of " Colonial Rules and Regulations." Great 
complaints are made in the colony, that these are altogether one- 
sided. In them it is notified that the appointment or term of the 
Governor's office is limited to a period of six years, from the time of 
his assumption of his duties; the crown reserving the power of pro- 
longing that period. 

The great complaint in the colony is, that the policy of the 
government at home is always fluctuating with the change of the 
incumbent who holds the office of Secretary of State. This happens 
with every change in political parties in the mother country, and the 
office is often held by persons who have very little knowledge or 
experience in colonial affairs, and consequently regulations are from 
time to time issued, and particular orders for the guidance of the 
Governor are frequently sent him, which leaves him little or no inde- 
pendence in the performance of his duties. 

At the distance at which New South Wales is situated, it may 
readily be conceived what inconvenience is felt by the Governor and 
Council in carrying out what they deem best for the interests of the 
colony. They have no power or control over the revenue, which in 
reality is under the supervision and direction of the Lords Commis- 
sioners of her Majesty's treasury. 

The Governor is not allowed to expend any sum over £200 for any 
one service, (unless under very urgent circumstances,) without the 
previous sanction of the home government ; and although at liberty to 
draw that amount, it is on his own responsibility ; he must account for 
it, and show the absolute necessity for its use. 

The estimates for the ensuing year are made in June, and for- 
warded for approval. The expenditure must be limited by this 
estimate, and no further disbursements applied for on account of that 
year, unless under circumstances entirely unforeseen. 

The estimate, after undergoing the supervision of the colonial 
legislative body, must also undergo the scrutiny of the commissioners 
of the treasury officers, before any instructions are given by the Secre- 
tary of State. 

The estimates for taxation follow the same course, and the Council 
has no control over the funds arising from the property or droits of 
the crown. 

The Governor, in transmitting his accounts for audit, sends them 
accompanied by certified copies of all estimates of expenditures to 


which the accounts relate, and of all ordinances for the imposition 
of taxes, with copies of the despatches sent him by the Secretary of 
State, conveying the sentiments of his majesty's government upon 
them ; and it is required that full detailed statements of the revenue 
and expenditures of the colony be published in the Colonial Gazette 
immediately after the accounts are transmitted. 

These are some of the regulations, which will tend to show how 
great is the authority still retained by the crown, or in reality by the 
ministers, and how little discretionary power the Governor has. He 
is required personally to superintend or authorize things of such 
small concern that it almost approaches the ridiculous ; for instance, 
a wheelbarrow cannot be mended without an order in writing attested 
by his signature. Such an order may be necessary, but one would 
think that other persons might be authorized and trusted to perform 
such acts. The colony is treated as though it were a den of rogues, 
and required the constant supervision of the ministry at home. I 
was told that no one could conceive the mass of despatches containing 
instructions that a single year produced, and these are often found 
conflicting with those that had gone before, and thus require a 
reference back to the Secretary of State. The practical inconvenience 
is apparent, and it is not surprising that it should excite the ridicule 
as well as disgust of all thinking men in the colony, to see the attempt 
to govern the affairs of this rising state by the royal prerogative, 
exercised by one of her Majesty's principal secretaries of state, in 
despatches to a governor, whose recommendations are usually adopted, 
thus making him, at least in part, his own instructor. When the time 
necessary to pass these communications, which is at least eight 
months, is considered, there appears great reason for reform, and it 
is not surprising that the thinking part of the population are very 
urgent for it. 

The high and confidential officer of the crown, which the Go- 
vernor really is, is looked upon as the mere agent of the ministry at 

The community do not feel themselves at all protected by the 
Legislative Council, although they have, apparently, a voice in its 
proceedings ; as its members are composed, to the extent of one half, 
of persons who do not hold office. In practice, it is not found that 
this amounts to a check; for on all government questions the members 
who hold office will be present, and therefore vote in their full 
strength ; while the members of the people, appointed from the most 
respectable landholders by the crown, do not take sufficient interest 


iii the proceedings to give that punctual attendance that might be 
required for the interest of those whom they are intended to represent. 
But even if all were present, the Governor, with his two votes, would 
always decide the matter in favour of the government ; and as before 
stated, no new law can be considered in council, unless prepared by 
the Governor, which must effectually prevent any innovations being 
brought forward by those who represent the interest of the inhabitants 
of the colony. The only power they have is a negative one ; that 
of entering their protest, and having it sent home for consideration 
by her Majesty's ministers ; but in such case there is little likelihood 
of its meeting with favour. The official members, on the other hand, 
are considered as bound to support the Governor or to lose their seats 
and offices, notwithstanding their oaths faithfully to advise, to the 
best of their ability and judgment, the government of the colony. 

The principal check on the Governor and his Council is the public 
press, whose conductors are strenuous advocates for reform and 
colonial rights, and exhibit much ability. 

The statute of New South Wales expired in 1839, when it was 
renewed for a year, and has subsequently been renewed from year 
to year until the present time (1840). So evident, however, were the 
defects in the administration, that a clause was added to the act of 
renewal, declaring that the statute was deemed in many respects 
inapplicable to the circumstances of the colony and the wants of the 

It was made lawful for the colonial legislature to enact any laws or 
ordinances, subject to the provisions of the statute, for the better 
administration of justice, and to define the constitution of the courts 
of law, equity, and juries. This conclusively proves that great 
difficulty is experienced in governing these rising colonies, and in 
giving that attention to their wants that they demand; yet Great 
Britain still manifests a strong desire to retain her control over 
these subjects, and does not see the necessity of letting them stand 
alone, and being allowed to feel that they are able to take care of 

Petitions have been sent home to Parliament and to the Queen 
praying for the formation of a new constitution, such as they could 
place confidence in, and in which the people of the colony might be 

* The Legislative Council has agreed to take upon the colony the charge of de- 
fraying the expenses of the police and jail out of the revenue. This has also caused 
much dissatisfaction. 

vol. ii. 60 


represented. The model of the constitution that they desire is that 
of the Canadas, and the expectation is that by the great influx of 
free emigrants, the day will soon arrive when it will be vouchsafed to 

From the reports of a committee of the Legislative Council of this 
colony, it is shown that by offering bounties, immigration may be 
more economically conducted than by the government system. The 
report states that during the year 1838 there arrived in the colony 
seven thousand one hundred and eighty individuals, (exclusive of 
convicts,) of whom one thousand six hundred and sixty-two made a 
claim for bounty. In the latter six months of the year 1839, six 
thousand arrived. The total arrivals from January, 1837, to the end 
of September, 1839, were sixteen thousand four hundred ; by govern- 
ment ships, eight thousand four hundred and eighty-five; by the 
aid of bounty, four thousand two hundred and sixty-six ; unassisted, 
three thousand six hundred and forty-nine. The amount of bounty 
to the four thousand two hundred and sixty-six who were introduced 
by private enterprise, was sixty-five thousand five hundred and 
eighty-six pounds, at the rate of fifteen pounds six shillings each ; 
while the cost of introducing eight thousand seven hundred and 
twenty-one persons by the government system, was one hundred and 
sixty-eight thousand seven hundred and seventy-five pounds, showing 
an increase of cost of thirty-seven thousand six hundred and thirty 
pounds to the colony by the government system.* This subject 
engrosses the attention of all, now that the transportation, and 
consequently the assignment system, is to cease. They are desirous 
of securing workmen and servants, and every exertion is to be made 
to that end. 

There is now a great influx of all kinds of people into this colony, 
from the capitalist to the labouring man. The colony offers advan- 
tages to all of these, but in a very different proportion. There is no 
country where provisions and the actual necessaries of life are as 
high as here, and this particularly affects the poor man, for although 
he receives high wages his expenses are proportionately great. He 

* Many curious developements have taken place relative to the colony of South 
Australia, which was established upon the principles of self-support having been carried 
out; no colony under the British dominions has cost the mother country more, nor has 
any one been conducted so badly, having cost the government about one million pounds 
for bounty. Some extraordinary circumstances were related to me of the manner in 
which the government were defrauded, in spite of their stipulations directly to the contrary. 


will therefore be disappointed, if he calculates upon making great 
savings. On the other hand, the capitalist may at once enter the 
market and invest his money profitably, and from all that I could 
learn, securely. Money, however, according to several intelligent 
and well-informed persons, commanded more than its value; or, in 
other words, the rate of interest is too high to be sustained. This 
was in part attributed to the improvements going on, partly for specu- 
lating purposes, but generally as permanent investments, the result 
of profits in business. Money is in fact the best merchandise to carry 
to New South Wales. 

The poor labouring man, if he be sober and industrious, will soon 
acquire the means of support for himself and family, but he must 
carefully avoid the contamination to which he will be subject, and 
avoid improper associates. There is no place where he will be so 
much led into temptation as here. For the middle class — those who 
have a small income and do not work — there is every thing to strive 
against. Labour is high, and so are the necessaries of life. New 
South Wales is not a place to economize in. A moderate fortune, 
unless employed in some lucrative and growing business, will finally 
involve its owner in difficulties ; and if he engage in farming, a few 
bad seasons (very likely to happen) will completely ruin him. From 
all the information I could obtain, emigration to New South Wales is 
attended with risk, unless a person be very prudent and can keep 
himself within his means. The moment he begins to borrow money, 
he is sure to get behindhand ; for few can stand the payment of an 
interest of fifteen per cent. The great difficulty with all emigrants 
seems to be, that as land is very cheap in comparison to what they 
have been accustomed to, they immediately desire to possess large 
tracts. This it is necessary to look for, and much time and money 
is spent in wandering about the country in search of what is not 
very easy of attainment. Another difficulty of the newly-arrived 
settler consists in getting information concerning the unoccupied terri- 
tory. No land-office or land-agent is found here for the emigrant to 
apply to, and he not unfrequently falls into the hands of those who 
defraud him, or is led astray by the reports of the ignorant or preju- 
diced, and at last is induced to purchase much more than he requires, 
and in consequence fails of success. The government lands are dis- 
posed of in a different way from what ours are. A certain parish 
having been surveyed and mapped, is advertised as being open for 
sale ; persons select and make application, and if a less quantity than 
six hundred and forty acres is desired, he is obliged to state the reasons 


of his wish to obtain it, and the use to which he purposes to put it; the 
land is then advertised to be sold on a certain day (of the month), at 
public auction. If the land offered for sale happen to be in the neigh- 
bourhood of some wealthy proprietor, he cannot fail to become informed 
of it; the section is bid up, and the person may be disappointed in 
obtaining the allotment selected and advertised by his own desire. 

The minimum price must be paid, at any rate : this originally was 
five shillings an acre ; it is now twelve. Ten per cent, must be paid 
down, and the remainder in one month, or the deposit is forfeited. 
On payment of the money the title-deed is given, subject to the 
nominal quit-rent of a peppercorn. Before delivery of the deeds, the 
law provides that forty shillings shall be paid to the colonial secre- 
tary, and five shillings to the register. The crown reserves to itself 
the right of making roads and bridges, as well as of taking timber, 
stone, and other materials for making and keeping them in repair ; as 
well as all mines of coal and precious metals. No land within one 
hundred feet of high-water mark on the sea-coast, harbours, or bays, 
is to be considered open to purchase, unless for purposes of commerce 
and navigation. 

As respects the discontents arising from what the colonists call the 
misapplication of the land-fund, her Majesty's ministers have deter- 
mined that she has a right to alienate the waste lands, and divert the 
appropriation of the proceeds, and that the doubts raised would, if 
sustained, be laid aside by a declaratory act of Parliament. 

All free persons are admitted as purchasers of land, without any 
limitation whatever as to quantity. 

In order to show that the statement of the extent of crime in the 
colony, however extraordinary it may appear, is not exaggerated, I 
will give extracts from the charge of Judge Burton to the jury, at the 
close of the session of the Supreme Court, in November, 1835, and 
afterwards a report by him to the colonial secretary, in 1836. Both of 
these may be classed as official documents of the highest authority.* 

Judge Burton remarked, that " It was now his duty to discharge 
them (the jury) from any further attendance this session, but before 
he did so, he must make a few observations, which they ought to 
carry to their homes, and there give them a calm and serious con- 
sideration ; his own mind was sufficiently impressed with their 

" It had been his lot to preside alternately with his brother judges in 

* See Appendix X. for tabular statements of crime in New South Wales. 


that court, he might say, for three years. It was a period at which 
he might himself well pause and inquire what he had been doing, 
what had been the effect of his labours, and especially, considering 
the numbers of capital convictions which had taken place before 
him, and the number of sentences passed, it was fitting that he 
should ask himself the question, what has been the effect of those 
sentences in the way of example ? 

" He felt they were equally interested in the same questions : he 
would therefore lay before them the views and conclusions at which 
his own mind had arrived. He had requested a return to be made 
out by the chief clerk of the court of all the capital convictions that 
had taken place during the last three years, and he thought when he 
stated the number of them, they would feel he was fully justified in 
the course of observations he was about to make. 

"In 1833, there had been one hundred and thirty-five capital 
convictions, on which sixty-five sentences of death had been passed ; 
forty-five of these capital convictions, and fifteen of these sentences, 
of death, had taken place upon his judicial responsibility. 

"In 1834, there were one hundred and forty-eight capital con- 
victions, on eighty-three of which sentence of death had been passed ; 
forty-eight of which convictions, and thirty-six of which sentences, 
had been before himself. 

" In 1835, one hundred and sixteen capital convictions, and seventy- 
one sentences of death; fifty-six of which had taken place before him, 
and twenty-eight of which sentences he had passed. In addition to 
which, there are thirty-three prisoners who have been capitally con- 
victed, waiting sentence, whether death might be recorded, or passed 
upon them ; the number of capital convictions was a feature sufficient- 
ly striking in the administration of justice in the colony; for it was to 
be remarked, that capital punishment had been taken away from 
several offences, ever since the 1st of August, 1833, — such as forgery, 
cattle-stealinp-, stealing in a dwelling-house under the value of five 
pounds, (these were fruitful sources of capital conviction in former 
times) ; so that those which had taken place since that time, were 
all of crimes of violence: murder, rape, robbery, burglary, mali- 
ciously stabbing, shooting, and wounding; and offences of similar 

" The calendar for the present sessions presents the following facts, 
and had been furnished him by the crown solicitor : 

" ' There had been convicted of murder, two ; stabbing with intent, 

VOL. II. 61 


&c, shooting at, with intent to kill, cutting and maiming, assault, 
with intent to do bodily harm, six ; manslaughter, two ; arson, one ; 
piracy and burglary, eight; house-breaking, ten; highway robbery, 
seven ; receiving, one ; forgery, two ; larceny on the high seas, one ; 
larceny, four ; cattle-stealing, one ; piracy only, one ; robbery, eight ; 
— total, fifty -four.' 

"The prisoners in jail on the 18th of November, 1835, untried, 
were seventy-four, from various causes of delay ; they were, however, 
neither unknown nor unheeded. With respect to the causes of this 
state of crime, he had formed his own conclusions, and begged them 
to weigh and examine them, and judge for themselves ; he thought 
the number of capital convictions alone, enough to point his own and 
their attention to it, as an indication of the state of the country as 
to crime. 

"He did not think it necessary to mention the number of con- 
victions before the Supreme Court, during the same period, for 
offences not capital. He would, however, briefly refer to them, and 
to all offences which were tried before the several Courts of Quarter 
Sessions throughout the colony, in the exercise of their summary 
jurisdiction, and by juries ; the mass of offences which were 
summarily disposed of by the magistrates; and, added to all those, 
the numerous undiscovered crimes, which every man who had heard 
him, and to whom the report of his words should come, would at 
once admit to have occurred within his own circle of knowledge. 
There the picture presented to their minds would be one of the most 
painful reflection. It would appear to one that could look down 
upon the community, that the main business of us all was the com- 
mission of crime, or the punishment of it: as if the whole colony 
was in motion towards the several courts of justice ; and the most 
painful reflection of all must be that so many capital sentences, and 
the execution of them, had not had the effect of preventing crime, by 
way of example. 

" In his opinion, one grand cause of such a state of things was the 
overwhelming defect in the religious principles of the community ; a 
principle, which he considered as the polar star, to guide a man in all 
his conduct, and without which none other would prevent him from 

"But that he might not be said to make so grave a charge upon 
light foundation, he would instance the crimes of violence, the mur- 
ders, manslaughters, in drunken revels, the perjuries, the false 


witnessing, from motives of reward or revenge, which in the pro- 
ceedings before him had been brought to light. There were some 
indeed of so atrocious a character which had occurred before him, 
that he would briefly instance some of them, which the time that had 
elapsed might have caused to pass away from their memory. 

" The case of Mullany and his wife, who were convicted of stealing 
from the person of Patrick Sherry, by administering to him some 
deleterious drug, which for a time deprived him of sense, and perhaps 
only the quantity prevented his losing his life. The case of Arm- 
strong, the overseer, who was acquitted upon a false charge, brought 
against him by a convict under his superintendence, of shooting him 
with intent to murder. 

" The case of Cowan and his wife, who were acquitted of the 
murder of a man named Kerr, embodies in itself a picture of those 
evils with which the colony is visited. A person of the name of 
Campbell, and the deceased Kerr, lived near Liverpool, and kept an 
unlicensed still, and a house to which the gangs of prisoners in this 
neighbourhood resorted for drink, and they were cattle-stealers. On 
a Sunday evening this house was visited by a constable from Liver- 
pool, who arrived about eight o'clock, and found the parties, as he 
expressed it, ' beastly drunk,' and the two prisoners of the crown in 
the same state ; this was the last time Kerr was seen alive by any 
respectable person. 

" Information was given the next day, by two of Cowan's servants, 
to the magistrates of Liverpool, against him, for cattle-stealing, and it 
was proved that their having done so was known to Peter Montgo- 
mery, a convict, employed as overseer at the Liverpool Hospital, in 
the afternoon of the same day, and that he had visited Cowan after- 
wards, and understood from expressions made by Cowan, during his 
intoxication, that he expected Kerr would give evidence against him. 
Kerr was murdered by some one on that night, and his body was 
afterwards found at fifty rods' distance, but the blood was traced to 
within seventeen yards of Cowan's door. 

" Campbell had given a statement before the magistrates, which, if 
he had adhered to on the trial, would have brought home the guilt of 
that murder to both the prisoners ; but he recanted the whole of his 
previous statement, and they were acquitted. 

" It appeared in evidence, that Campbell had been forwarded from 
Liverpool to Sydney, hand-cuffed with Cowan, and was confined in 
the same jail-yard with him. It further appeared, (and it deserves 
mention as an instance of retributive justice, as well as showing the 


character of the case,) that another dead man was found in the same 
place three months before, and upon that occasion a coroner's jury 
had acquitted the prisoner Cowan, upon the evidence of the man 
Kerr; and this deposition of Kerr's, after his death, was given in the 
court, on evidence in favour of the same prisoner, when Cowan was 
subsequently tried ; and was the main ground of his acquittal. 

" In another case, an old man was acquitted of maliciously shooting 
at a servant in his employment, and the means taken to procure that 
acquittal, was a charge of felony set up against the principal witness. 

" These, and many other instances still more disgusting, had brought 
him to the conclusion, that there was an overwhelming defect of reli- 
gious principle in this colony. There was a great deficiency of 
religious instruction and instructors. 

" He had visited the penal settlement, where he saw them herding 
together without any chance of improvement. A man who had been 
brought before him for sentence, observed, in a manner which drew 
tears from his eyes, and wrung his heart, ' That let a man be what he 
will, when he comes here, he is soon as bad as the rest ; a man's heart 
is taken from him, and there is given to him the heart of a beast.' 

" He felt bound to say, that masters of convicts were not sufficiently 
attentive to the morals of their men. It had been proved before him, 
that highly respectable persons near a church in the same town, not 
only neglected to oblige them to attend the worship, but actually 
suffered them to spend the Lord's day amidst scenes of drunkenness 
and debauchery. It had been further proved, that the Lord's day 
by some masters, was made a day of labour, some other day being 
allowed to them as an equivalent. He was sorry to add, that many of 
the worst crimes which had been brought under his notice, were 
committed on the Lord's day, and he was led to apprehend that there 
was a very general disregard and desecration of it. 

" He had been induced, by what had been proved before him in 
that court, gravely to consider the question of convicts working out 
of irons, and felt convinced that it was one of the most fruitful sources 
of crime to be found in the colony. He had before him a return, from 
which it appeared that the number of convicts at this time employed 
upon the roads, is two thousand two hundred and forty ; of whom one 
thousand one hundred and four are out of irons. And when they (the 
jury) considered who these men were, and what they had been ; that 
they left their huts in any number, armed or unarmed, as they 
pleased ; from the evidence he possessed respecting the conduct of 
these road-parties of the colony, it would appear that those establish- 


ments were like bee-hives, the inhabitants busily pouring in and out ; 
but with this difference : the one works by day, and the other by 
night ; the one goes forth to industry, the other to plunder. 

"To the careless or worse than careless conduct of the overseers, 
he did attribute a vast proportion of the burglaries and robberies that 
were committed in the country districts. It had been proved in a 
recent case that a party of these men had committed a robbery, under 
such circumstances of aggravation, that sentence of death had been 
passed upon four of them. 

" The settlers themselves were to blame, for many of the crimes 
committed by convicts belonging to road-parties. It appears they 
have frequently employed these men, in their leisure hours, or on a 
Sunday, paying them for their labours in money which was spent in 
drink, and so prepared them for crime ; and it also appeared that 
after using their services in harvest, they remunerated them for their 
services, by granting passes for several days more than was necessary 
for them to return to their gangs, during which time the whole 
country they passed through is laid under contribution by their 

" Another source of crime was the occupation of the waste lands of 
the colony by unauthorized and improper persons, both bond and free, 
who, commencing with nothing, or a very small capital, soon after 
acquire a degree of wealth, which must lead every reasonable man to 
the conclusion that they do not get it honestly. 

" The congregation of large numbers of convict servants in the town 
of Sydney, to which were to be attributed the vast proportion of the 
burglaries and robberies committed there, the master allowing the 
convict servants to wander about when and where they please after 
his work is done. 

" The allowing improper persons to have licensed public houses. 
It had been proved that a great many robberies had been committed 
at such places, many of the proprietors of these low houses, being 
not far removed from the class of life in which the prisoners were 
themselves placed. 

" Another cause, which comes home to all, is the almost total want 
of the superintendence of masters over their assigned servants. It 
had been proved to him that many of the robberies which had been 
committed are attributed to this alone; also, that convicts, six or 
seven in number, armed with muskets, and masked, had committed 
various robberies on their adjoining neighbours. One of them 

vol. ii. 62 


attempted a robbery in the middle of the day, on a Sunday, on the 
high-road from Sydney to Paramatta, armed with a musket, another 
person being in his company ; and very many robberies were com- 
mitted through convict servants being left too much at liberty to 
roam where they pleased, during the hours of night." 

In Judge Burton's report to the colonial secretary, as to whether 
juries in the colony have answered the ends of justice, he gives a full 
account of the jury system, its formation, &c, some passages of 
which I shall also quote, as it will tend to show the manner in which 
the law is administered in the colony, and the difficulties encountered 
in the proper punishment of crime. 

"In civil cases, such as form the ordinary business of the court, 
the matters in dispute are so simple as to afford but little field for any 
undue bias on either side. 

" It is only in cases occurring between the government and an 
individual, or involving some point of political or party feeling, that 
any trial can be had of the principles of the jurymen, and happily 
there have been no instances of any such during the time (the last 
three years) that jury trial has been established. 

" In criminal cases, there is a greater and more constant ground for 
apprehension of improper influences, and undue bias upon the minds 
of the jurymen. The prisoners for trial before the court, are chiefly 
of a class transported hither for crimes committed out of the colony, 
and persons of the same condition, and others very low in respecta- 
bility and character, and frequently allied to them, are qualified, 
according to colonial law, to serve as jurymen. 

" The qualifications are, a clear income, arising out of lands, houses, 
or other real estate, of at least thirty pounds per annum, or a clear 
personal estate of three hundred pounds. 

" The disqualifications as they now stand are : ' Every man not a 
natural-born subject of the king, and every man who hath been or 
shall be attainted of any treason or felony, or convicted of any crime, 
(unless he shall have received for such crime a free pardon, or shall 
be within the benefit and protection of some act of Parliament, having 
force and effect of a pardon under the great seal,) or, secondly, if any 
person who, either while serving under any sentence passed upon 
him in any part of the British dominions, or after the expiration or 
remission of such sentence, shall have been convicted of any treason, 
felony, or other infamous offence.' " 

Respecting the qualifications arising from property, Judge Burton 


says, " The possession of such an amount as is specified in the act 
affords no criterion in the colony, where property is notoriously 
accumulated by every variety of dishonest means. It may be a test 
of respectability and trustworthiness in a community differently 
constituted, but wholly fails in a community like this, lacking 
honesty, but abounding in property. In consequence of this quali- 
fication being requisite, many honest and respectable persons in the 
community, very proper to serve on juries, are excluded. 

" Within this range are included a class of persons in the colony 
who have been transported hither for offences committed out of the 
colony. They are qualified to act as jurymen under the Local Act. 
without any proof being required that they had regained that good 
repute which they once lost, and the mere circumstance of their 
having served the period of their several sentences, does not establish 
that fact. 

"There are others who, possessing the qualifications in property, 
have arrived in the colony as free emigrants, the near relatives of 
transported persons, under such circumstances as justly to lead to the 
suspicion of an undue bias existing in any case affecting them, and 
who have connexions in England, not unlikely to follow them to the 
colonies, possessing ready means of importing into this country pro- 
perty dishonestly acquired, and who speedily accumulate wealth by 
that and other dishonest means. There is no provision for guarding 
the administration of justice against the predominance of such persons 
upon the jury list. The effect of the colonial law in practice has been 
that juries actually empanelled under it, have been frequently formed 
of very improper persons." 

From the data submitted with Judge Burton's report, he says, "It 
appears that a party accused, inclined to exercise his right of peremp- 
tory challenge, might insure a large predominance of convicted per- 
sons on the jury, inasmuch as the law allows in cases of felony the 
peremptory challenge of twenty in number, and if a prisoner has 
professional assistance in his defence, this right of challenge is fully 
exercised. In one instance I knew gentlemen of high character and 
respectability thus peremptorily rejected on the part of the prisoner. 
I took the liberty of asking some of them afterwards if the prisoner 
was known to them, and was answered that he was not. The 
conclusion in my own mind was, that they were challenged on 
account of their respectability. In another case before me, every 
person of apparent respectability who was called, was peremptorily 
challenged on the part of the prisoner, which the crown officer 


observing, challenged all the others, and the case remained over 
in default of jurors. In both cases the accused had professional 

" Again, the jurors are placed alphabetically on the list, and are 
summoned in that order ; the relatives of convicted persons, qualified, 
and bearing the same name, are sure to be on the same panel with 
them. A party may be well informed beforehand, who will be 
summoned on his jury. An opportunity thus offers for the exertion 
of improper influence. 

" A large proportion of those who have appeared and served are 
publicans, as many in some cases as eight out of twenty-nine, three 
having been convicted pei'sons ; in other cases, ten out of thirty-one, 
five having been also convicted persons; and again, eleven out of 
thirty-five, four of them convicted persons. 

" Respecting the large proportion of this class of persons on the 
jury panels, and the state of crime, and the causes of it, I addressed a 
letter to his excellency the Governor, and I now repeat, that the evils 
arising from the very great number of licensed houses for the sale of 
ardent spirits, are not restricted to the stimulus which they give to 
the commission of crime, and concealment of it which they afford, 
but I have found a very great proportion out of the panel of jurymen 
before the Supreme Court (who actually attend), to be holders of 
licensed public houses, frequently very low in respectability, to 
whose houses, prosecutors, and parties accused, on bail, and their 
witnesses, bond and free, resort for the purpose of drinking, during 
the period of time they are in attendance on court ; and a reasonable 
fear is thus excited for the purity of the administration of justice, 
which I have had occasion as a judge to see realized. 

" Upon reference to the jury list of 1835, I have found that the 
number to be summoned from criminal issues before the Supreme 
Court, is nine hundred and fifty-three, of whom two hundred and 
three are publicans and innkeepers. The proportion of those who 
actually serve, far exceeds that number ; and in June, 1835, no less a 
number than two hundred and twenty-four licenses were granted 
for public houses in the town of Sydney alone. Few of them 
do not possess the necessary qualifications, and many are highly 
respectable persons ; but the proportion which they bear to the whole 
is small. 

"The keepers of the low public houses in Sydney, are chiefly 
persons who have been transported to this colony, or are married to 
convicts, and many of them are notorious drunkards, obscure persons, 


fighters, gamblers, receivers of stolen goods, harbourers of thieves, 
and the most depraved of both sexes ; they exist upon the vices of 
the lower orders, and inasmuch as there are no licensed pawnbrokers 
in Sydney, they act as such, but not as occurs in other countries, 
upon occasion of some temporary pressure on the poor, for some 
necessary of life, but for intoxicating liquor. 

There is a great unwillingness on the part of respectable persons 
to appear and serve on juries, arising from a natural repugnance 
to association and confinement in the jury-room with disreputable 
persons. Judge Burton goes on to give many instances of the 
behaviour of the jury in their room, and their determination to acquit; 
stating, that he had been informed by a respectable inhabitant of 
Sydney, on whose veracity he could fully rely, that upon one occasion 
when a prisoner was on trial for cattle-stealing, he was defended 
by one of the practitioners of the court, when, during the progress of 
the trial, a juryman leaned over him towards the practitioner, calling 
him by name, and said, " It's all right, we'll acquit him." When the 
prisoner was called on for his defence, the practitioner advised him 
to say nothing, and call no witnesses, which course was adopted ; 
and he was acquitted. 

It is proper to state that the other judges think that the jury trials 
have met with the success reasonably to be expected, and that 
matters will grow daily better as the free emigrants arrive and are 
qualified. From what I understood from gentlemen of the legal 
profession, there has some improvement taken place since the 
year 1836. 

The courts still adhere to the use of wigs and gowns, and the 
opinion seems to be that such appendages cannot be dispensed with 
without injuring their respectability and solemnity in the eyes of the 

Under the additional clause, amendments have been made by the 
Legislative Council in the laws regulating trials, and they have also 
abolished military juries. 

Education in the colony of late years has claimed some portion of 
the attention of the government, which has made allowances to the 
different sects of Christians for the maintenance of schools. I was 
obligingly provided with the school return for the year 1838, by 
William Lithgow, Esquire. This will be found in Appendix XII. 

It appears that the whole number educated is only six thousand 
and thirty-seven, and that the expense incurred by government is 

vol. ii. 63 


twelve thousand four hundred and twenty-six pounds, or upwards of 
two pounds per head. The number of children attending schools is 
to the aggregate of population as about one to twenty, which is the 
same as in 1836. In the return above mentioned, it will be found 
that there are seventy -six schools, of different denominations ; three 
colleges, and sixty-seven private schools : showing an increase more 
than fourfold during the last five years. Several attempts have been 
made to establish the Irish national school system, or a general 
system of education, but thus far, without success. The chief 
opposition to this has been from the Church of England. 

Among the colleges, two are under the guidance of the Church of 
England, viz. : King's College or School, at Paramatta, and Sydney 
College. The third, called the Australian College, was established 
by the Reverend Dr. Lang. Of this institution that gentleman is the 
principal. The college edifices consist of four large buildings, for the 
accommodation of the professors and their families, with recitation- 
rooms in each, besides apartments for the students. The expenses, 
including board, are about forty pounds per annum. The charge at 
Sydney College is about ten pounds more. Of the latter college, Sir 
John Jamison is the president. It is in a great measure under the 
control of the Bishop and Episcopal laity of Sydney. An examina- 
tion was witnessed at the latter institution, and was thought very 
creditable to the students. Medals were awarded and appropriate 
remarks made by the Bishop. 

The system of giving to the clergy an allowance from the govern- 
ment, for their support, is the fertile cause of dissension in this 
community. Many hard thoughts, and harsh expressions, are occa- 
sionally felt and uttered, by one sect against the others, in the 
contest for the stipend distributed among the several denominations. 
An act was passed in 1836, which appears as liberal as could be ex- 
pected. The amount appropriated annually, is about twenty thousand 
pounds, of which about three-fourths go to the Episcopal Church, 
and the remainder is divided among other sects, Roman Catholics 
included. Regrets were occasionally heard, (perhaps to flatter us,) 
that the voluntary system of supporting the clergy had not been intro- 
duced. It will be well to remark, before quitting the subject, that 
in all other matters appertaining to the general good and benefit of the 
community, there appeared a co-operation highly commendable. 

The Australian colony was erected into an Episcopal See in 1836, 
and Archdeacon Broughton was consecrated as the first Bishop. To 



his lordship we are indebted for many kind attentions, and the lively 
interest he took in our proceedings. 

The exertions that the colonial government and private individuals 
appear to be making, to afford religious instruction, cannot but bring 
about, in a few years, a very desirable and necessary reform among 
the lower classes of this colony, of which the facts previously exhi- 
bited in the account of the country fully establish the necessity. 






18 3 9. 

My own time was so completely occupied during the stay of the 
squadron at Sydney, as to prevent my making any excursions in the 
colony, with the exception of a brief visit to Paramatta, by invitation 
of his excellency the Governor. 

The distance of Paramatta from Sydney is fifteen miles. There 
are two methods of going to it from Sydney : by a carriage on a good 
macadamized road, or by a steamer up the Paramatta river. The 
latter is the most agreeable mode, and the scenery on the banks of 
the river is fine. The whole distance abounds in positions which 
would furnish beautiful sites for villas, upon the bays, inlets, and 
headlands. Should the progress of the colony in wealth and popu- 
lation continue, these sites will doubtless be occupied ere long with 
handsome residences. 

The passage by steamer to Paramatta occupies about two hours ; 
here the river becomes narrow, and a mile higher up the stream the 
tide ceases to flow, and farther navigation ceases. 

The town of Paramatta is situated about a mile from the steamboat 
landing. Although regularly laid out, it has a straggling air, each 
house having a large space enclosed as a garden, and the attempt at 
regularity rather injures its appearance by giving it a look of stiffness. 
It has, and I suppose deserves, the reputation of being a dull place. 
It is built principally on a single street, about a mile long, at the head 
of which, on an eminence, is situated the Government-House, where 
his excellency the Governor resides during the summer season. 

The Paramatta Observatory, established by Sir Thomas Brisbane, 
is a small building, with several good instruments by Jones, Ramsden. 


and Troughton, but I regretted to see the dilapidated state it was in. 
Mr. Dunlap, the present incumbent, obligingly showed me the instru- 
ments, and I passed an agreeable morning with him. He is allowed 
a small salary, but I understood that no allowance was made for 
repairs of the building, &c. 

Paramatta contains some public buildings and works, among which 
are the female penitentiary or factory, which has already been de- 
scribed, a stone court-house, barracks, and a fine stone bridge over 
the Paramatta river. I feel greatly indebted to Sir George and Lady 
Gipps, with whom I passed two days, for the kindness and attention 
they showed me. 

Previous to Sir George Gipps's going to New South Wales, he had 
been in Canada, and on his return had paid a short visit to the United 
States. It afforded me pleasure to find the liberal views and feelings 
he evinced towards our country. It is needless to say that at the 
Government-House my time passed agreeably, and that I sensibly felt 
the exchange of such agreeable society for the routine of my duties 
on shipboard Here, also, I had the pleasure of meeting several 
agreeable people. 

The houses of Paramatta are generally no more than two stories 
high, and are built of sandstone. The town contains several churches. 
The Government-House is a commodious, unpretending two-story 
building. The grounds are extensive, but not remarkable for beauty. 
A farm is attached to the domain, where many government cattle are 
kept, and there are numerous outbuildings and dairies. The ground 
had a familiar look to me, for the grass was burnt up, and reminded 
me of my home at Washington during the heat of summer. It was, 
therefore, an unfavourable time to see its beauties. I understood that 
this place was laid out as an experimental farm ; but this plan, I 
should suppose, is now laid aside, for the people of the colony are 
abundantly able to take care of themselves. 

A telegraph is placed in a conspicuous position within a short 
walk of the house, which communicates with Sydney, and was 
formerly in constant use. It is now in contemplation to remove it, 
as it is no more needed, which is a farther proof of the advancement 
of this colony towards a well-regulated government. 

There are also schools at Paramatta under the direction of the 
resident chaplain. 

Several of the gentlemen who were left at Sydney, visited the 
Ulawarra district, which has already been more than once spoken 


of. They made the passage from Sydney to Woolongong in a 
steamer. Owing to the steamer not being well adapted for a sea- 
voyage, much inconvenience, delay, and disappointment occur on 
this route, although upon the whole it facilitates the intercommuni- 
cation between this district and the city. Woolongong, the port at 
which the steamer stops, is a small thriving town, and will be the 
principal one of this district. It has no natural harbour, but one is 
now under construction, at the expense of government, by excavating 
the solid rock (limestone), for the accommodation of steamers and 
small vessels : a large number of convicts were at work upon it. The 
port will never be fully protected until the proposed pier or break- 
water is built, for during half the year, the sea makes it dangerous 
to lie at anchor in the roadstead, notwithstanding the strong- moorings 
which have been laid down. It will also be very difficult to enter 
the basin in bad weather, until such a breakwater is in existence to 
protect it. The basin, when completed, will contain about half a 
dozen vessels. The construction of the breakwater is carried on at 
the same time as that of the basin, and the stone excavated from the 
one is used in the construction of the other. Both were to have been 
finished in 1842. 

The district of Illawarra is held by a few persons, who have large 
grants of land. The roads are constructed and kept in order at the 
expense of the government. When one of the residents was asked 
whether the road was a public one, he answered, it was a " govern- 
ment road." 

The convict population, including ticket-of-leave holders, in this 
district, bears a proportion to the free as one to three. Of the 
remaining two-thirds, more than one-half are emancipists and ex- 
pirees. The proportion of women to men is also about one to 

For the hospitable reception given them by Mr. Plunket, the 
Attorney-General of the colony, our gentlemen are under great 
obligation. He happened to be spending some time at his farm, near 
Woolongong. This contains about two hundred acres, and is ex- 
ceedingly pretty. The residence of Mr. Plunket is a neat cottage, 
built after the manner of the settlers, and is well adapted to the 
country. It is surrounded by the most luxuriant foliage, nearly all 
of which has a tropical character, and includes palms, cabbage-trees, 
and several varieties of tree-ferns, all growing' to a great height. 

A drive through the woods, accompanied by the ladies of the 

vol. ii. 65 


family, afforded many opportunities of making collections, and getting 

Some idea may be formed of the advancement of this district, and 
the rise in the value of property, from the fact that Mr. Plunket sold 
his farm for fourteen thousand pounds, which, but two years before, 
he had bought for seven hundred. 

Dr. Osborne, R. N., has a farm likewise, near Lake Illawarra, 
which is now divided by a narrow sand-beach from the sea. This 
lake is shallow, and is about six miles long, by four miles wide. It 
contains a great quantity of fish, principally mullet.* Large quanti- 
ties of shells are to be seen on its banks. These are burnt into lime, 
which is used both for building and a manure. On the borders of 
the lake reside several fishermen, and it is a general resort for the 
natives. Mullet, caught in large quantities, are salted and dried. 

Daisy Bank, the seat of Dr. Osborne, is about ten miles from 
Woolongong. Here also our gentlemen met with that kind hospi- 
tality, which reigns throughout this country. This part of the 
district is nearly all brought into cultivation. The mountain scenery 
is fine, and a few very large trees are conspicuous objects in it. The 
side of the mountain affords a good field for making botanical 
collections, as it is not easily accessible to cattle. A large accession 
was made to our collection of seeds. The woods were alive with 
birds, among which were the white cockatoo, which collects in flocks, 
and does infinite mischief to the wheat-fields. They are difficult to 
approach in consequence of the good look-out kept by the old birds. 
The small species of the kangaroo, called the wallaby, is found here, 
as are large black and diamond snakes, lizards, black and white 
cockatoos, and sand-leeches. The latter is much dreaded, as its bite is 
venomous, and produces ulcers. It is very troublesome, crawling up 
and attaching itself to the flesh, where it gloats upon the blood, and 
not unfrequently bursts from repletion. 

This district is level, and was thought to resemble some parts of 
our own country after the harvest was gathered in. Silicified wood 
is very common in Illawarra, and many stumps of it are seen in 
passing along the road. In some of them, the texture of the wood is 
well preserved ; and so natural is their aspect, that at first sight they 
appear as if they were now standing where they had originally 

* One of our gentlemen was assured by the fishermen that there were thirteen kinds 
of fish in Illawarra Lake. 


grown. The diameter of some of them is about two and a half feet, 
and the whole mass is completely petrified. They are quite black, 
except where bleached by exposure. 

The Illawarra district extends from Woolongong to Shoalhaven, 
and is the most interesting portion of Australia to visit. In this 
small coiripass is found some of the most remarkable of the sandstone 
scenery, and there is also an opportunity of viewing a basaltic forma- 
tion, which is no where else to be found in the colony. 

Kiama is remarkable for the number of deep and wild caverns, 
through which the sea forces a passage to the distance of one hundred 
3'ards or more, sweeping along at a furious rate ; and when the noise 
of its progress has nearly died away, loud thunderings are heard 
rushing through its vaults. The Blow-Hole of Kiama Point, is 
already a place of some celebrity, and it merits to be so. A subterra- 
nean passage of about twenty feet broad by eighteen high, receives 
the advancing wave, which passes quietly along for two hundred feet. 
It then meets a basaltic wall, against which it dashes with a sullen 
roar, and passes upwards, through a narrow opening above, rising at 
times to a height of one hundred feet, throwing off innumerable jets 
in all directions, and which fall around in ever-changing forms. 

Some of the basaltic scenery about Kiama, will bear comparison 
with the far-famed Giant's Causeway, and the rocks of Staffa, if it 
does not surpass them, united as it is with the luxuriant and splendid 
forests of palms, tree-ferns and the woody creepers of the tropics. 

About Shoalhaven, is one of the largest and finest farming and 
grazing districts in the colony. Its scenery is extremely picturesque, 
particularly when viewed from the summit of Coolomgata. The 
broad Shoalhaven river is seen to the southward, flowing through 
rich meadows and farms, enclosing a delta; while the deep and 
sinuous bays with which the coast is indented, and which enclose 
innumerable islets, appear like a crowded cluster of lakes. 

To the north, a wide verdant plain extends to a mountain bluff, 
called Broughton's Head. Through this the Broughton river winds, 
and beyond it is seen the Illawarra mountain range. 

On a wide platform around Woolongong Point, are to be seen at 
high-water mark, globular concretions, that resemble cannon-balls in 
appearance. They vary in size, from one inch to four in diameter, 
and are very compact and tough. They generally contain some 
foreign body, and in about a third of them, Mr. Dana found a single 
fossil shell, in a beautiful state of preservation. For a full detail of 


the geological structure of this district, which is exceedingly interest- 
ing, I must refer to the Geological Report. 

Mr. Hale and Mr. Agate made a jaunt to the Hunter river, and 
thence to Lake Macquarie, to the establishment of Mr. Threlkeld, 
the missionary employed among the aborigines. 

The passage to Hunter river, a distance of eighty miles to the 
north of Sydney, is made in a steamer. The boat was small and ill- 
adapted for the sea. 

Leaving Sydney just before dark, they reached Newcastle, at the 
mouth of the Hunter river, about noon the next day. They, how- 
ever, had a head wind, and much sea, to contend against. 

Among other accidents, the shipping of a sea caused much fright 
among the women on board, and threw one poor girl into hysterics. 
They were all glad to pass within the island of Nobboy, off the 
mouth of Hunter river, and to get on shore at Newcastle. 

The town of Newcastle is a small village of seventy or eighty 
houses, built on the side of a hill ; it contains two taverns and several 
grog-shops, a jail, convict stockade, hospital, court-house, and a vene- 
rable old-looking church. On one of the neighbouring hills is a 
flag-staff, and on another a windmill. The business of a coal-mine, 
and that of the building of a breakwater, for the protection of the 
harbour, give the place an air of life and animation. 

Our travellers put up at Rowell's "Commercial Hotel;" and on 
proceeding to make inquiries relative to the mode of reaching Mr. 
Threlkeld's, they were referred to Dr. Brook, the surgeon of the 
hospital, and a friend of Mr. Threlkeld. He offered them every 
attention, and advised them to wait for Mr. Threlkeld's conveyance. 
This delay gave them an opportunity of seeing something of the 
place, and the natives, as well as to make drawings. The view of 
the surrounding country from the windmill was extensive, over- 
looking the town; the Hunter river was seen winding through a 
well-wooded country, rising occasionally into low hills. At a bend 
of the river the steamer was seen aground, on her way to Maitland, 
about twenty-five miles farther up the river. The coast trended to 
the north, and was visible as far as Port Stephens, about fifty miles 

There are two coal-pits, one on the hill, the other in the valley. 
The former is the older, and has been worked about eight years. 
Both are the property of the Australian Agricultural Company, and 
are under the direction of Mr. James Steel. The coal is first seen 


along the cliffs, forming black horizontal strata, separated by sand- 
stone and clay shale, from twenty feet to forty feet in thickness. 
They formerly quarried it from the cliff, but the greater part of the 
coal is now obtained by mining. 

From the older coal-pit they have excavated an area of twenty-four 
acres. The shafts are carried down about one hundred feet, to the 
fifth or lowermost coal-seam, which is abcut sixty feet below the level 
of the sea. The coal is at first taken out in small narrow areas, the 
passages in which are but four feet high, leaving about as much 
standing as is removed, the roof above being of fragile shale, and 
requiring propping every three or four feet. The work is all per- 
formed by convicts, who, after digging the coal out, take it in small 
carriages on railways, which pass to the shaft, where it is raised by 
steam-power. The lower bed only is considered sufficiently extensive 
and pure to pay for its exploration, and is about three feet thick. 
The coal is pure, except a layer of one and a half inches of bluish 
sandstone. It is bituminous, and burns readily with abundance of 
flame, somewhat like kennel coal. It is compact, though less so than 
the best Pittsburg and Liverpool, and is of fair quality, although 
sometimes impregnated with clay, which causes it to leave a large 
quantity of ashes. 

Pyrites is occasionally disseminated in masses through it. Coal 
abounds throughout the valley of the Hunter, appearing at the 
surface in many places. 

The average quantity of coal produced is sixty tons a day, which 
is piled up near the mouth of the pit, and thence sent to the pier on 
a railway, where it is shipped to Sydney, Van Diemen's Land, and 
even to the Cape of Good Hope. 

The new shaft in the valley is only sixty feet deep, the difference 
of the two being in the height of the hill. 

Dr. Brook was formerly superintendent of this station, and gave a 
droll account of the summary manner in which marriages were con- 
cluded with the female convicts. If he saw a man who had just 
come in from the country with a clean shirt on, he was sure he had 
come for a wife, and the event always justified his surmise. The 
man usually intimated his wish with a modest sheepish grin. The 
fair frail candidates for matrimony were paraded for his inspection, 
and if he found one whose looks pleased him, he put the plain ques- 
tion at once, " Will you have me ?" He was seldom answered in the 
negative, for marriage liberates the lady from the restraint she was 

vol. ii. 60 


under. The banns were then announced by the parson for three 
Sundays, when the lucky swain returned to claim his bride. 

From the known licentious and unruly character of the female 
convicts, it is not to be supposed that these marriages can be very 
fruitful of happiness ; but as both parties had been felons, they are 
probably as well matched as could be expected. 

The greatest difficulty the superintendent of a station has to con- 
tend with, is the management of the female convicts. 

Captain Furlong, commandant of the garrison, was kind enough to 
show the convict stockade ; it encloses a prison for the convicts, and 
a guard-house for the soldiers. The convicts all belong to the iron- 
gang, composed here, as at Sydney, of those who have been guilty of 
some crime in the colony. They were kept constantly in irons, and 
are employed on the public works. They eat and sleep in the same 
apartments, and their bed is a blanket on the floor; to guard two 
hundred convicts, there are seventy soldiers stationed here. 

At Dr. Brook's they had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Dawson, 
the first agent of the Australian Land Company, and the founder of 
Port Stephens, who is well acqtiainted with this colony, and has pub- 
lished a popular work in relation to it. He of course possessed much 
information, and among other opinions seemed to entertain the idea 
that no free colony can succeed, and that in all cases the first settlers 
of a new country ought to have the use of slave labour, in order to 
be successful. He argued that these only had realized fortunes ; 
where they had been left to their own resources they had generally 
failed, and left it to their successors to reap the advantages of their 
labour. As evidence of this opinion he contrasted the settlements of 
New South Wales and Swan River. At the latter establishment it 
is well known that the first settlers have lost almost every thing, and 
have struggled with every difficulty, and that they now desire to 
have the advantages of convict labour. This remark, however, is 
not true as respects South Australia ; and its general accuracy would 
undoubtedly much depend upon the location. 

In their walks they came across a group of several blacks (natives) 
seated around a little fire ; they were pointed out as the remnant of 
the tribes which about forty years ago wandered in freedom over the 
plains of the Hunter and around the borders of Lake Macquarie. 
Their appearance was wretched in the extreme : emaciated limbs, 
shapeless bodies, immense heads, deep-set glaring eyes, thickly- 
matted hair, and the whole begrimed with dirt and red paint, gave 


them an aspect hardly human. The dress (if such it could be called) 
of the women, was a loose ragged gown, and of the men, a strip of 
blanket wrapped round the middle, or a pair of tattered pantaloons 
which but half performed their office. 

Mr. Threlkeld's conveyance did not arrive, and not being able to 
get another, they determined to walk to Lake Macquarie, and for 
this purpose they resorted to the natives as gnides, and by a great 
deal of coaxing and promises of bull (grog), their natural repugnance 
to make an exertion was overcome. An evidence of the pride which 
characterizes these natives was shown in this interview. One of 
them, whose sobriquet was Big-headed Blackboy, was stretched out 
before the fire, and no answer could be obtained from him, but a 
drawling repetition, in grunts of displeasure, of " Bel (not) me want 
to go." After promises and expostulations enough to overcome all 
patience, Mr. Hale, tired of his obstinacy and stupidity, touched 
him slightly with his foot, telling him to get up and listen. He 
immediately arose, and seizing his spear, which was lying near him, 
turned his side towards Mr. Hale, and stood looking at hitn askance, 
with an expression of demoniac malice, as though he would have run 
him through with pleasure ; but he did not speak a word in reply to 
all that was said to him. 

Friday, 13th December, the morning being chilly, the blacks, who 
are very susceptible to cold, did not make their appearance till some 
hours after sunrise. At half-past eight our travellers set out in 
company with a troop of natives, headed by the two whom they had 
hired. The first of these was named Jemmy, the best-natured and 
most intelligent of all ; the other was Big-headed Blackboy, who 
had got over his sulks. Jemmy refused to start until he had received 
a couple of shillings, which he forthwith converted into a loaf of 
bread and a bottle of grog. When about a mile from the town he 
asked permission to take a drink ; and a cup of bark was produced 
from a thicket where it had been hidden, whereupon the contents of 
the bottle as well as the loaf were shared out among the troop. The 
two guides took no more than an equal portion; for, according to 
the custom of the natives, all share alike. The cup was made of a 
piece of the bark of the ti-tree, which resembles that of the birch, 
about a foot square. The ends were folded in and tied together, to 
form a cavity of trough-like shape. Such cups are called by them 
Taude. The path or cart-road they followed, passed through a hilly 
country covered with forests. The gum trees were the most preva- 


lent, and many of them were of great size, growing close together 
without any underwood. 

The gum tree, of which there are many kinds, is peculiar to New 
Holland. It has an inner bark of about an inch thick, enclosed by 
an outer one which is quite thin. The latter is shed every year, 
which gives their trunks and branches a peculiar appearance of many 
colours, from pure white, through all the shades of yellow, olive, and 
red, to a deep brown. These colours showing through the green 
foliage, produce a very striking effect on a stranger, and the contrast 
is heightened by an occasional sight of a black and withered trunk, 
from which the bark had been stripped by the natives to make canoes, 
or by settlers to roof their houses. 

Ten miles brought them to Lake Macquarie, but on the opposite 
side to Mr. Threlkeld's house, and they found themselves disap- 
pointed in finding a canoe, which they were assured would be met 
with at a settler's on the banks of the lake. They were thus obliged 
to walk ten miles further. The guides were here again taken with 
sullenness, and refused to proceed. They were proof against all 
promises and abuse, and kept replying, " Me marry (very) tired, bel 
(not) me want to go." Through the kindness of Mr. Warren, the 
settler referred to, this obstacle was overcome, by his offering to send 
his son as guide, with a horse to carry the portmanteau. . This offer 
was thankfully accepted. 

After proceeding a few miles they came upon a little encampment 
of natives, crouching around fires in front of their huts, which were 
as rude as possible, made of a few pieces of bark laid against a stump 
and covered with bushes ; they barely sufficed as a screen to keep off 
the wind. One of the women was quite good-looking, with large 
black eyes, white teeth, and small features. She was better dressed, 
too, than any of the others, and the pretty half-caste child that was 
clinging to her skirts, made it sufficiently evident in what manner 
her finery had been obtained. As a part of the lake was said to be 
fordable, it was determined to take advantage of it in order to shorten 
the route. One mounted the horse to pass over. Whilst they were 
proceeding quietly along, the horse suddenly reared and plunged, 
relieving himself of his rider and load, which were thrown into water 
two feet deep, without any further injury than a good ducking, and 
the disparagement of the wardrobe. It was found that the horse 
had trodden upon a stingray, which fully accounted for his sudden 
gambols. It was sunset when they arrived at Mr. Threlkeld's 


station, which at first sight appeared like a comfortable farm-house, 
such as is often seen in our western country. Mr. Threlkeld was 
found busy attending to his cattle, and gave them a warm and 
friendly reception, which made them at once feel at home. 

As Mr. Threlkeld has occupied a conspicuous place in this colony, 
it may be well to give a short sketch of his labours in the missionary 
field, in order to show the progress he has made, and the difficulties 
he has had to contend with. I do this more readily from the feeling 
that great injustice has been done him, and that he has suffered much 
contumely and persecution from those who were too prone to listen to 
the scandalous reports of interested individuals. 

Mr. Threlkeld left England in 1814, as a missionary to the Society 
Islands ; he resided with Mr. Williams, at Raiatea, until 1824, when 
the death of his wife determined him to pay a visit to England. 
About this time the inspectors of missionaries, Messrs Tyerman and 
Bennet, arrived at the islands, and he took passage with them to 
Sydney. On their arrival at Sydney, these gentlemen, supposing 
that a favourable opportunity offered to establish a mission among the 
Australian aborigines, requested him to take charge of it, which he 
consented to do. Moreton Bay was at first proposed as the location, 
but it was afterwards changed to Lake Macquarie, the latter place 
being a favourite resort of the natives. Ten thousand acres were 
granted by government to the Missionary Society, in trust for the 
natives. The establishment was accordingly begun on this lake, on 
the opposite side to that now occupied by Mr. Threlkeld, who at 
once planned his station on the only footing by which he thought 
a reasonable chance of success would be insured, that of a farming 
establishment, extensive enough to give employment to the natives, 
and induce them to settle. Their number, as is usually the case, had 
been greatly overrated ; he soon, however, collected about fifty around 
him, and began to employ them in felling trees, turning up the 
ground, and building ; at the same time labouring with them himself, 
in order to obtain such a knowledge of their character, language, 
habits, &c, as might enable him to become useful on the great 
subjects of his mission. 

The expense of forming such an establishment was far greater than 
had been anticipated, but was indispensable in a country like New 
South Wales, where all the necessaries of life, at the commencement 
of a settlement, have to be purchased. Added to this are the droughts 
to which they are subject, and the expenses of transportation. 


In consequence of the demands made upon them, the directors of 
the Society became alarmed, and after reproving him severely for his 
extravagance, finally dishonoured one of his drafts, and refused to 
pay it until compelled by a lawsuit. This, of course, broke his 
connexion with the Society, as Mr. Threlkeld was naturally indig- 
nant at the undeserved disgrace to which they had subjected him. 

The directors offered to pay his passage to England, but this he 
refused, having determined to carry on the work by his own un- 
assisted efforts. 

That he might be independent of any funds of the Society, and to 
prevent its being said that he had derived any profit from them, he 
removed in 1828 to the opposite side of the lake, a position far less 

After struggling for two years to conduct the mission and maintain 
his large family, he received a stipend of one hundred and fifty 
pounds from the government, with the assignment of four convicts. 
With this assistance he has been able to provide for his family, and 
devote himself to the instruction of the aborigines ; but he has found 
his means inadequate to keep,, a number employed about his station, 
in such a manner as to overcome their natural tendency to a wan- 
dering life. 

The consequence was, that the blacks, from the attraction held out 
to them of indulging in drunkenness and other vices, left his neigh- 
bourhood to frequent the towns, where they had been rapidly 
diminishing in number. 

Mr. Threlkeld did not find the natives deficient in intelligence; 
but he has not been able to overcome their aversion to a fixed 
residence. In proof of this, they abandoned comfortable and 
substantial huts, which he built for them, after a few days' residence, 
on the plea that they were infested with vermin. 

Frequently, they would all quit him to attend some meeting of 
their tribe, for war, hunting, or some religious ceremony, and stay 
away for months. 

He laboured in vain against these disadvantages, and it is not 
difficult to perceive how impossible, under such circumstances, it 
would be to meet with success in teaching and converting a set of 
savages, so wedded to their usages. 

Mr. Threlkeld's labours have, however, been turned to some 
advantage. He has published a grammar, and translated several of 
the books of the New Testament. His influence has been productive 


of a better tone of feeling between the blacks and the settlers than 
prevails elsewhere, and has prevented those outrages which have 
occurred in other parts of the country. He has been able to render 
essential service as an interpreter, both to the natives and govern- 
ment, in the courts. 

A circumstance occurred about two years ago, which was the 
means of setting Mr. Threlkeld's whole conduct in its true light 
before the public. 

The Rev. Dr. Lang, a minister of considerable notoriety in New 
South Wales, established a newspaper, which was in the habit 
of holding up and assailing all the abuses in the colony. Among 
others, he attacked Mr. Threlkeld, accusing him of malversation, 
unfaithfulness, and incapacity in his trust, and in a style of gross 
abuse, seconded by vulgar doggerel, gave grounds to the belief 
that he was actuated by any other than a proper zeal in the cause of 
missions. After great forbearance, Mr. Threlkeld wrote him a letter 
of remonstrance, which was, at once, published in the newspaper, 
accompanied with insulting comments. Mr. Threlkeld then insti- 
tuted an action for libel, and obtained a verdict in his favour, which, 
although the damages were only nominal, is an uncommon thing in 
New South Wales, when a libel case is submitted to a jury. In the 
progress of the trial, the merits and sacrifices of the missionary were 
made apparent, and the faithfulness and diligence with which he had 
laboured, under so many disadvantages, became well known, for ever 
silencing the aspersions of his enemies. He had, in consecpience, 
the satisfaction, not long since, of receiving a letter from the directors 
of the London Missionary Society, expressing their regret that they 
should have been led into such unjust suspicions and misplaced 
severity towards him. 

Macquarie Lake communicates with the sea by a narrow inlet. 
Its shape is irregular, having several long narrow bays extending 
into the land, and from this cause it is in reality much more extensive 
than it appears. The soil around is sterile, and its principal ingre- 
dient is sandstone. The lake is surrounded by the sombre green of 
the gum trees, and the landscape is uninviting. 

Many ant-hills were passed, each appearing to contain a numerous 
colony of different species of ants. They are of various colours, red, 
black, gray, and yellow, and of all sizes, from that of minute animal- 
culse, to that of a wasp. Most of them were said to give poisonous 
bites, and those of the largest kinds had visible stings. Most of the 
snakes, small as well as large, are venomous to a high degree. 



Mr. Threlkeld, like many others in the colony, had convict servants 
assigned for the use of the station. It is thought almost impossible 
for a settler to manage his affairs without them, and it is somewhat 
curious to see a clergyman associated and in daily intercourse with 
thieves and abandoned felons. There is scarcely a person in com- 
fortable circumstances, who has not derived much of his fortune from 
their exertions, although not without suffering very much from the 
constant vexations attendant on such aid. Mr. Threlkeld had hired 
a family of emigrants as intermediate assistants, but he was doubtful 
if he had benefited himself by it. 

The difference between the two kinds of servants is great. The 
convict, on the one hand, is obliged to do the work his master ap- 
points, and in the exact manner he directs; but the master suffers 
from his vices and dishonesty ; and on the other hand, the emigrant 
is under all his English prejudices : self-willed, and conscious of his 
superiority over the other servants, he will not be driven, and is 
hardly to be coaxed into adopting the necessary alterations which the 
difference of soil and climate requires. Both try, in no small degree, 
the temper of a settler in New South Wales. 

At Mr. Threlkeld's, Mr. Hale saw M'Gill, who was reputed to be 
one of the most intelligent natives ; and his portrait was taken by Mr. 
Agate. His physiognomy was much more agreeable than that of the 
other blacks, being less strongly marked with the peculiarities of his 
race. He was about the middle size, of a dark chocolate colour, with 



fine glossy black hair and whiskers, a good forehead, eyes not deeply 
set, a nose that might be described as aquiline, although depressed 
and broad at the base. It was very evident that M'Gill was accus- 
tomed to teach his native language, for when he was asked the name 
of any thing, he pronounced the word very distinctly, syllable by 
syllable, so that it was impossible to mistake it. Though acquainted 
with the doctrines of Christianity, and all the comforts and advan- 
tages of civilization, it was impossible for him to overcome his 
attachment to the CTistoms of his people, and he is always a prominent 
leader in the corrobories and other assemblies. 

Mr. Threlkeld has a son, who is also engaged in missionary labours 
near Darling river, about three hundred miles in the interior, and 
who understands the language. A boy was sent down by the son for 
the father to take charge of. There was no difference perceived 
between him and the natives of the Hunter river. 


Inquiries for their implements of the chase and warfare, caused 
M'Gill, King Ben, and Shingleman, to set to work to furbish up their 
arms, including spears, shields, boomerengs, clubs, &c. The natives 
are seldom seen without arms, for they have not only to fear attacks 
from other tribes, but assaults from their own. This not unfrequently 
happens ; and it is not long since the brother of King Ben was speared 
while asleep, for some private grudge, by Dismal ; and it is said that 
Big-headed Blackboy, who has already been introduced to the reader, 
has committed several murders, and not long since burnt his mother 
nearly to death, in revenge for the loss of his brother, who died whilst 
under her care. This was not because he had any suspicions of unfair 

vol. n. 68 


conduct, but simply from one of trie unaccountable customs or super- 
stitions of tbese people, which holds the nearest relative of a person 
accountable for his death, if it takes place under his care. 

From the destructive influence of their own vices, and those of the 
community, these blacks are rapidly dying off As an instance of 
this, Mr. Threlkeld mentioned that a tribe, which occasionally visited 
the lake, and consisted at the time of his arrival of sixty, is now 
reduced, after a lapse of fifteen years, to twenty, only five of whom 
are females. 

During our travellers' stay, two natives of some note arrived : King 
Ben and King Shincrleman. The natives had no distinctions of rank 
among themselves, but when a native had performed any great ser- 
vice for one of the settlers, he was rewarded by giving him a large 
oval brass plate, with his royal title inscribed thereon. At first the 
natives were greatly pleased and proud of this mark of distinction, 
but as is the case every where, when the novelty was over, and these 
honorary medals became common, they began to hold them in dis- 
repute, and now prefer the hard silver. 

Sheep-shearing is performed in the neighbourhood of Lake Mac- 
quarie by men who make it their business. This operation was 
witnessed by some of our party, and was thought to be performed 
in a slovenly manner. It generally takes place in November and 

Some others of our gentlemen paid a visit to Peuen Beuen, the 
seat of Mr. Stevens, near the head waters of the Hunter river. The 
route was by steamboat to Newcastle, and thence to Maitland. The 
river at Newcastle is about one third of a mile across, and the dis- 
tance to Maitland, by water, about thirty miles, although it is only 
about twenty miles by land. The tide reaches Maitland, where the 
water is found to be brackish. 

The banks of the river are extended flats. This is one of the 
principal agricultural districts of the colony, the soil enjoying the 
advantages of being naturally irrigated ; but on the other hand, the 
crops are liable to destruction from heavy floods. These floods fre- 
quently occur, when there has been no sign of bad weather on the 
coast ; but storms of rain occur seventy or eighty miles in the interior, 
which raise the streams thirty or forty feet, doing great damage. 

On the way up the Hunter, a steamboat was seen building. The 
best ship-timber is said to be the flooded gum tree. The steamboat 
stopped at Green Hill, and they rode to Maitland, about three miles. 


Maitland is a widely scattered village, with many neat dwellings, 
stores, and shops, &c, built of brick and other materials, and much 
better than could have been anticipated. Near Harper's Hill, a place 
noted for the fossils which have been found there, a chain-gang was 
seen at work on the road, with their attendant guard. They were 
generally young and hearty-looking men. 

Some natives were passed who were quite naked, but they did not 
attempt to approach. There are no wild tribes in this vicinity. 
These poor creatures are becoming rapidly exterminated by the 
whites, who are not over-scrupulous as to the means. The natives 
have now and then committed a murder, but in general they are 
more sinned against than sinning. It is remarkable that they do 
not complain of their lands being taken from them, but confine their 
lamentations to the destruction of the kangaroos by the whites ; and 
they think it very hard that they should be punished for killing the 
white man's kangaroo, (a sheep or a bullock.) 

Mr. Hale made a journey to the Wellington Valley, about two 
hundred and thirty miles to the northwest of Sydney, and on the 
frontiers of the colony. It was first occupied, seventeen years ago, 
as a military post, when several small brick buildings were erected, 
and some of the land, which is considered the most fertile in the 
colony, brought into cultivation. It was afterwards converted into a 
penal station, for a description of convicts called " Specials," or such 
as were superior in education and social rank. 

In 1832, it was granted by government to the Church Missionary 
Society, in trust for the aborigines, with an annuity of five hundred 
pounds, in part as the support of a mission establishment on the 
grant ; and ever since, there have been two ministers of the Society 
resident at the place, employed in endeavouring to convert and 
civilize the natives. 

The only conveyance is the mails, unless a vehicle is purchased, 
the outlay for which would be about four hundred dollars. The 
mail was taken in preference to this mode, both as avoiding cost and 
as less liable to the dangers of journeying alone. On account of the 
numerous Bush-rangers and runaway convicts, travelling in New 
South Wales is not considered safe. 

The mail leaves Sydney once a week for Wellington Valley. 
There is some difficulty in procuring a seat, and the fare is thirty- 
two dollars and fifty cents ; a very exorbitant charge considering the 
mode of conveyance, which was a two-wheeled vehicle, with seats for 


five persons. It had no top, and was in all respects a very uncom- 
fortable conveyance. Formerly more commodious coaches were 
employed ; but the government, finding that the contractors, in their 
anxiety to obtain passengers, were accustomed to delay the mail, 
ordered that none but two-wheeled vehicles should be used. The 
party left Sydney about 5 p. m. Three miles from town is an inn 
at which the mail-carts from all parts of the country meet, so as to 
enter the city in company at 8 a. m. For every minute of delay 
after this hour, the penalty of a shilling is exacted. 

The post-office department is now under excellent regulations ; the 
number of miles of mail route travelled in the colony, is nearly three 
hundred thousand, and the gross revenue amounts to eight thousand 
three hundred and ninety pounds, being two thousand pounds more 
than the expenditure. The rate of postage is high, especially on ship- 
letters. The post was established in 1828, and at the end of the first 
year only eight post-offices were opened. In 1839, there were forty, 
showing the great increase of population and business. 

The route towards Wellington Valley lay through Paramatta ; and 
about 11 p. m. Penrith, thirty-six miles from Sydney, and on the 
Nepean, was reached. The mail left Penrith at four o'clock in the 
morning, and crossed the river on a raft. The Nepean, on its course 
towards the sea, assumes the name of Hawkesbury, and becomes the 
largest, stream in the eastern part of the colony. At Penrith it is 
about one hundred and fifty yards wide, and forms the eastern boun- 
dary of the Emu Plains, — an interval of level ground, five or six miles 
broad, between the river and the Blue Mountains. 

These mountains are the dividing range between the lands of the 
coast and the interior, and were, for many years after the establishment 
of the colony, considered as impassable, although many unsuccessful 
attempts to cross them were made previous to the administration of 
Governor Macquarie. During his administration, he sent out many 
expeditions by land and sea, and in 1814, a passage was effected, and 
the plains of Bathurst were discovered. 

On reaching this part of the country, one is no longer surprised 
that these mountains were considered impassable. The barrier con- 
sists of a broad belt of mountainous country, about fifty miles in 
width, and varying in height from one thousand to three thousand 
five hundred feet, according to Mitchell. The route which was fol- 
lowed through them was about eighty miles in length, and for the 
whole distance there were not more than five or six miles of level, and 


those are chiefly due to the planning of the engineers. The road is 
constantly ascending or descending, and on every side, as far as the 
view extends, is a succession of mountain ridges, their summits 
rising in detached peaks, and their declivities terminating in narrow 
and deep gorges. Their sides are sometimes clothed with a scanty 
growth of dark evergreens, but in very many places presented only 
bare and rugged masses of brown sandstone rock. The whole scene 
for the first forty miles, is wild, dismal, and monotonous beyond 
description. In the latter part of the route through the mountains, 
the scenery begins to improve, and finally becomes very striking, 
the sandstone being succeeded by trap and granite. The descent of 
Mount Victoria is celebrated for its beauty throughout the colony. 
This road was laid out by Major Mitchell, the Surveyor-General of 
the colony, and by him the mountain was named. The descent of 
this mountain is more than a mile in length, and in some parts is 
inclined at an anode of five degrees. The road is cut in the solid 
rock, it is hard, smooth, and accurately graduated, and notwithstand- 
ing its great angle of declivity, heavily laden teams ascend with 
less difficulty than would be supposed. At the foot, the road is 
carried along a high embankment or viaduct, which has been thrown 
across a deep chasm, and the river flowing on either side is fine. On 
the left is a wide deep gorge, encircled by high and naked precipices, 
topped with the sombre hue of the gum trees; on the right, an 
open valley, with a rivulet winding through it, sloping gently towards 
the northeast, gives a totally different current to the feelings. Go- 
vernor Macquarie has named this the Vale of Clwyd, after a similar 
scene in Wales. 

A little beyond this descent is the Weatherboard Inn, the land 
about which is, according to Major Mitchell, the only spot among 
the mountains fit for cultivation. He mentions, in order to show the 
difficulties the surveyors had to encounter, that one of them, a Mr. 
Dixon, penetrated the valley of the Grose, which, until then, had not 
been visited, where he was lost for four days, having been bewildered 
by the intricate character of the valleys ; and when he finally emerged 
from them, he in his official letter, " thanked God he had found his 
way out of them." 

Shortly after leaving the inn, two small rivulets are passed, pur- 
suing opposite directions. One of them falls into Cox's river, a 
branch of the Hawkesbnry; the other, the Fish river, discharges 
into the Macquarie. Not far distant is Mount Lambie, the last and 

vol. ii. 69 


highest eminence of the range, from whose summit the lighthouse of 
Port Jackson is visible, at a distance of sixty miles. The road passes 
within a few yards of this place, and it was here that Major Mitchell 
encamped when he was employed in laying down his plans for 
the construction of it across the whole range. This road will 
compare advantageously with almost any work of the kind in any 
country ; and this and other public improvements are frequently 
adduced as the benefits conferred upon the colony by convict labour. 
There can be but little doubt that the colonial government has many 
facilities to carry forward improvements, but I very much question, 
if all things were taken into the calculation, that it would be found to 
result in so great a difference as is generally supposed. 

After leaving the mountains, the road leads for several miles 
through an undulating country, covered with an open forest of stunted 
gum trees, and then comes in sight of the plains of Bathurst. These are 
of moderate extent, being little more than the valley through which 
the river Macquarie finds a channel. In the month of December there 
was no flowing stream, and the river, which at some seasons is a broad 
and powerful current, consisted merely of a string of pools. 

The appearance of the town of Bathurst disappoints. It consists 
of a few hundred houses, scattered in detached groups over the 
plain. The absence of trees and cultivation serves to increase the 
want of interest in the landscape. The town-plot was first laid out 
on the eastern side of the river, but after several houses had been 
erected, it was removed to the opposite bank, a circumstance which 
accounts for the dispersed appearance of the village. Most of the 
wealthy inhabitants have their dwellings two or three miles removed 
from the town, among the low hills in the neighbourhood ; from 
which circumstance, the importance of the place and the extent of 
the settlement is not at first apparent. 

The low bottom-land in which Bathurst stands is believed from 
various indications to have been at no distant period a lake. At 
the time of its discovery it was little better than a marsh, and the 
Macquarie was flowing in a deep and strong current nearly on a level 
with its banks, and was navigable for large boats. The plain was 
covered with long prairie grass, which led to the belief that it was of 
inexhaustible fertility ; but the general opinion of the intelligent 
residents is, that for the last twenty years the country west of the 
Blue Mountains has been gradually drying up. Lakes which, when 
first discovered, were extensive sheets of water, deep enough to float 


a seventy-four, are now inconsiderable ponds; swamps have been 
converted into dry pasture-lands ; and there is hardly a river which 
now continues running- throughout the year. It is remarkable, that 
in- these lakes and ponds, which have become dry, there are found the 
stumps of large trees, showing conclusively that these places must 
have been dry at some former period, and that they had continued 
so for a long time, giving rise to the opinion that the country must 
be subject to long periodical alterations of climate. 

On the morning of the 16th, Mr. Hale started in the mail-cart 
for Wellington. For the first twenty miles the road was a mere 
cart-track, through a piece of hilly country called the " Rocks," which 
is a repetition of the Blue Mountains on a smaller scale. Beyond, 
there is a succession of valleys, bounded by ranges of low hills, and 
covered with open woods, like a continuous orchard. This kind of 
country continues to Wellington Valley, and for the distance of a 
hundred miles beyond, when it gradually subsides into a level plain, 
in which many exploring parties have continued their progress for 
weeks, without meeting any elevation deserving the name of moun- 
tain. These plains stretch away towards the interior of the continent, 
but of their extent in that direction nothing certain is yet known. 

Twenty miles from Bathurst brought them to an inn kept by a 
man named Luck, which had been, about six weeks before, the scene 
of a tragical incident. During the absence of the landlord, a party 
of Bush-rangers entered the house at night, and began to plunder. 
Although they had taken the precaution to disguise themselves with 
masks of black crape, the landlady recognised one of them, and was 
so imprudent as to threaten him with the consequences of his crime, 
whereupon the robber without hesitation drew his pistol, and shot 
her dead on the spot. What will add to the illustration of the state 
of society here, is the fact that the murdered woman, though living 
with Luck as his wife, was not married to him. The laxity of morals 
which prevails throughout the interior among the lower orders, can 
hardly be exaggerated. 

The next public house to Luck's was a low tavern, in which it was 
not unusual for stockmen, sheep-shearers, wagon-drivers, &c, to meet 
and spend a week in drunkenness and debauchery, dissipating, not 
unfrequently, the earnings of a year, amounting to twenty or thirty 
pounds. Another inn was kept by the brother of the proprietor, he 
having committed some crime for which he had been transported to 
Norfolk Island. The last of the public houses was kept by a native 


of the colony, and was the best met with. This was another instance 
of the good character, general deportment, and temperate habits of 
this class, who, in spite of their unhappy parentage, evil example, 
and inauspicious connexions, offer a remarkable example of the 
improvement which education, when aided by a change of condition, 
may effect in a single generation. 

The stopping-places for the next two days were the huts of stock- 
men, and dwellings of settlers, all of which resembled each other in 
their construction. The sides were made of slabs of wood placed 
upright in the earth, and were sometimes fastened to a frame ; the 
roof was composed of strips of the bark of the gum tree. In the better 
sort of houses there were chimneys of brick, and glazed windows ; 
but these were comparatively few ; and in the others an elevated 
hearth of clay, in a recess of the hut, supplied the former, the smoke 
escaping through the roof. A cupboard, a camp bedstead, a rude 
table, with a few stools, supplied the want of furniture. In houses of 
this description, were living gentlemen of education and refined 
habits, who were submitting to a few years of hardship and banish- 
ment from social life, in hopes of realizing rapid fortunes. 

- ■ 


On the 18th, Wellington Valley was reached. It is a beautiful 
plain, about four miles square, bounded by low hills, and watered 


in seasons of freshet by the Bell river, which winds through it, and 
falls into the Macquarie about two miles below the station. During 
the season of Mr. Hale's visit, the channel was dry. 

The buildings at Wellington consist of a dozen small brick houses, 
erected formerly as barracks for soldiers, and having undergone some 
slight alteration, and repair, they are now inhabited by the mis- 
sionaries, and a police magistrate. The former are three in number, 
two clergymen and an agriculturist. They have under instruction 
forty men, women, and children, but the wandering and capricioiis 
habits of these aborigines render it impossible to keep the adults 
with them. Mr. Watson, the eldest of the missionaries, has now 
with him fifteen children, whom he does not allow to leave his house, 
and is endeavouring to teach them the habits of Europeans, and the 
English language. He considers them as equal to white children in 
docility and intelligence, and several of them had made as much 
proficiency in the various branches of education, as could be expected 
at their age. They could read and write with facility, and solve 
questions in elementary arithmetic. They had a natural aptitude for 
music, and they joined with much harmony in singing common 
English tunes. 

Mr. Hale was greatly indebted to the chief missionary, Mr. Watson, 
for his hospitality and the aid lie furnished in his researches into the 
language, manners, and customs of the natives. 

While at Wellington, he passed a few days at the station of 
W. 0. Raymond, Esq., one of the magistrates of the colony, who is 
owner of a large stock of cattle and sheep. His house is situated on 
the Macquarie, and here an opportunity presented itself of seeing the 
operation of washing and shearing the sheep. This took place at the 
time of their visit, and was, on account of the lateness of the season, 
about a month later than usual. 

The sheep were plunged and held in a tub of hot water, until their 
fleeces were thoroughly soaked ; they were . then taken out and made 
to swim about in one of the deep pools of the Macquarie, for half an 
hour ; after this they were held under the spout of a pump, where 
they were rubbed, combed, and rinsed, until their wool was con- 
sidered sufficiently clean. 

The sheep are shorn when dry, and the fleeces assorted according 
to their fineness, in lots, which are afterwards packed in bales of 
from two to three hundred pounds : these are then compressed by a 

VOL. II. "0 


The average weight of a fleece is about two and a half pounds. 
Mr. Raymond calculates the cost of transportation to Sydney at 
about two pence per pound, and the average price of the wool there 
is eighteen pence per pound. The freight to England is one and 
a half pence ; and there it has to compete with fine wools from 
other countries. As to the question whether this can be done profit- 
ably, there is a considerable difference of opinion between well-in- 
formed persons in the colony. According to some, it can be afforded 
even at a much lower rate, but in this estimate the labour of those 
who are employed as shepherds is no doubt calculated as being that 
of convicts, and it may be questionable whether when this source of 
labour fails, the price will be a remunerating one. 

The flocks of sheep kept near Wellington are pastured beyond the 
legal limits, which is a meridian line, in the neighbourhood of that 
place. Beyond this line the government refuses to make any grants 
of land ; but any respectable inhabitant, on the payment of ten 
pounds, may obtain a license to pasture his flocks beyond this arti- 
ficial boundary. 

Each flock consists of from five hundred to a thousand sheep, 
and is under the care of a single shepherd. There are usually 
two flocks to each station, where a servant is employed as hut- 
keeper. The cost of these when convicts, is no more than their 
food and clothing, which is, however, rendered greater than would 
at first seem probable, by the necessity of bringing even flour from 

The land and labour may, however, be put down at an expense 
merely nominal, for the increase of the flocks at present more than 
counterbalances this item; but this advantage will cease when the 
assigned convicts are withdrawn from the colony ; the wages of a 
hired servant will then amount to from seventeen to twenty pounds a 
year, exclusive of his clothing and food. 

The cost of a sheep varies much in different parts of the colony ; 
the average price is from three shillings to one pound, so that the 
outlay for the smallest flock would be from seventy-five to five hun- 
dred pounds. Comparing this with the price of wool, (eighteen pence 
per pound,) an estimate may be formed of the probable profits. 

The climate seems peculiarly well adapted to a fine-woolled sheep, 
and it is calculated that the flocks double themselves in three or four 
years. In 1807, the quantity of wool exported was not more than 
two hundred and forty-five pounds, in 1838 and 1839 it exceeded five 


millions of pounds. With these facts, the rapid accumulation of 
fortunes in New South Wales will no longer be a mystery. 

It is said that the owners of stock have already pushed their stations 
one hundred and twenty miles beyond the boundary, and the only 
impediment to their farther extension seems to be the scarcity of 
water, of which the more remote country is almost destitute. 

The country about Wellington becomes almost impassable during 
heavy rains, for the waters are then so much swelled as to put a stop 
to travelling. Mr. Hale was detained a week from this cause ; and at 
Wellington, the Macquarie, which was before only a string of pools, 
became a large river, flowing with a rapid current ; yet at a distance 
of twenty miles farther down, it had ceased to flow, thus exhibiting 
the phenomenon of a large stream losing itself. This remarkable 
circumstance is usually ascribed to the many dry pools it has to fill 
on its route, each of which must be overflowing before there can be 
any farther current ; but this is hardly sufficient to account for the 
almost sudden disappearance of a body of water sixty feet wide and 
two feet deep, flowing at the rate of three or four miles per hour. It 
would seem more probable that water may make its way into some 
of the vast caverns that are known to i exist in this limestone region. 

The population beyond the Blue Mountains amounts to ten thou- 
sand, and it is supposed that there is little room for its farther increase, 
as all the stations capable of supporting flocks are now occupied, and 
as there is little or no chance for the extension of husbandry. Welling- 
ton Valley, although it was considered when first discovered, as fitted 
to be the granary of the district, has disappointed all such expectations; 
and out of seven harvests which have occurred since the missionaries 
commenced operations in it, six have wholly or partially failed. 

According to Mr. Hale, the number of languages in Australia has 
been greatly exaggerated, and so far from every tribe having, as has 
been asserted, a separate language, it appears that within the colony, 
or from Port Macquarie on the north to Port Philip on the south, and 
extending one hundred miles beyond Wellington to the west, com- 
prising one-tenth of the whole continent, only six, or at most, eight 
dialects are spoken, and that these are so similar in words and gram- 
matical construction as to place their identity of origin beyond a doubt. 
From some vocabularies of the language spoken at Swan River, it 
appears that this similarity of words extends over the entire breadth 
of the continent. On the other hand, at Port Essington and Melville 
Island, on the northern coast, though the distance is not so great, the 


dialect is represented as quite different, notwithstanding the physical 
characteristics, habits, and customs, are said to be similar to those of 
the other aborigines. It is not believed, however, that the difference 
is as great as has been represented, and farther researches, it is 
thought, will prove the accounts of it to have been exaggerated. 
The language differs radically from that of the Malay tribes, being 
highly artificial in its construction, abounding in consonanted sounds, 
and remarkable for the number and variety of its grammatical in- 
flexions. The verbal modifications are as numerous and compre- 
hensive as in the American languages, but the manner of inflecting 
is different: the root or radical verb (which is usually a monosyllable) 
is placed first, and to this the various inflexions or modifying syllables 
are attached, until they protract the word to an extraordinary length. 
Thus, in the w r ord Bumarce, 1 strike, (Bu or Bum being the root.) 
Then comes bumal-guaim, I have struck; bumal-gurani, I struck 
yesterday; bumal girri, I shall strike; bumalugidyillinga, I strike 
myself; bumallanna, we two strike each other; bumalalinga, I strike 
again ; bumalmamblina, I permit to strike again ; bumabumara, I 
continue striking ; bumalngarriawagirri, I shall strike to-morrow ; and 
filially, bumalbumalalimambilngarriawagirri, I shall permit to con- 
tinue striking again to-morrow. Those who are desirous of farther 
information, relative to this language, are referred to the results of the 
Philological department. 

Mr. Peale made a journey into the interior, in the direction of 
Argyle, passing through Liverpool, and visiting Camden, Clifton, and 
Strathara. The last two were the country-seats of gentlemen. 
Clifton is the residence of James M'Arthur, Esq., who possesses a 
large estate in its neighbourhood. Mr. M'Arthur, father of the 
present owner, was the first who introduced sheep into this country. 
The facts connected with this transaction, as related to me at Sydney, 
are as follows : Captain M'Arthur, about the year 1797, had procured 
three rams and five ewes from Captain Kent, R. N., who brought 
them from the Cape of Good Hope. They were of Spanish blood, 
and had been sent out by the Dutch government to that colony. 
Captain M'Arthur soon found by experience, that his ideas as to the 
fitness of the country for the support of this animal, had not been too 

In 1803, he visited England, and there made a statement, which 
was communicated to the government, a copy of which will be found 
in Appendix XXIII. 


In consequence of this statement, Captain M'Arthur's plans were 
investigated by a committee of the Privy Council — at whose meetings 
he was present — and were recommended to be adopted. Some sheep 
were supplied from the flock of George III., and with them he em- 
barked for New South Wales, on board the " Argo," which vessel 
was so named by himself in reference to the freight she bore. 

The government having granted him a large tract of land, in what 
was termed in the colony the Cow Pastures, he, in gratitude for the 
assistance he had received, named it Camden, after the distinguished 
nobleman who had befriended him, and who was then presiding over 
the Colonial Department. This is now a princely estate, with a 
magnificent mansion and grounds. The land attached to it contains 
thirty thousand acres on the Upham river. About the lawns of this 
mansion, magnolias and other trees of North America flourish by 
the side of the Acacia pendula, &c, and plants indigenous to the 
Australian mountains. In the garden are found figs, peaches, pears, 
plums, and small fruits in the greatest profusion and of the finest 
uality, besides mulberries, grapes, pine-apples, oranges, &c, growing 
in the open air. The grounds are in beautiful order, and their repu- 
tation is deservedly great in the colony. 

Liverpool is a small town in this neighbourhood, fifteen miles from 
Paramatta, to the westward. The government has here a large 
hospital, under the direction of Dr. Hill, to whose kindness and atten- 
tion Mr. Peale was much indebted. This institution is open to the 
disabled and sick of all nations; is a large building, and admirably 

We are sorry that as much cannot be said for the " Wheelwright 
Arms," at Liverpool, and other hotels in Campbelltown : a larger 
supply of spiders, flies, and bed-bugs is seldom seen, than that with 
which the bed-rooms swarm. 

In the neighbourhood of Liverpool, a dam is in progress at the head 
of the tide-water of Cook's river, which empties into Botany Bay. 
This is a noble work, and is intended for the purpose of giving 
Sydney a supply of water, of which it is much in want. The work 
is performed entirely at the expense of government, and the water is 
led for a long distance by tunnel. 

While at Clifton, Mr. Peale made air excursion along the mean- 
dering course of the Nepean river. He was much surprised at the 
productions of the soil, although these were apparently every where 
deficient of moisture; and also at the singular notes of the birds, 

VOL. II. 7 1 


particularly the quaint and varied jargon of the Dacelo gigantea, 
called in the country, the " Laughing Jackass." This is an instance 
of the ridiculous misapplication of names in this country ; for, besides 
belonging to a different class of the animal kingdom, its notes have 
little or no resemblance to the braying of an ass, and it feeds upon 
a very different kind of food, viz. : lizards and serpents. The bird is 
common in this part of the country, but peculiar to New South 

There are many native magpies, which have somewhat the appear- 
ance of a crow. This bird frequents the neighbourhood of houses, 
and its loud and crow-like note is the matin-call of the country 
residents. In spite of its hoarse croak, it was spoken of by some as 
a fine sinking bird. 

The wallaby, the smallest species of kangaroo, is common here, 
as well as numerous opossums. On reaching the Wallondilly river, 
the party stopped to hunt the Ornithorhynchus, which once abounded 
there, and succeeded in obtaining specimens, although with much 
difficulty. Proceeding on, they reached Strathara, the seat of Achlan 
M'Alister, Esquire, to whose kind attentions the whole squadron are 
much indebted. His property contains about sixteen thousand acres 
of the most fertile land in the colony. The soil is composed of de- 
composed trap rock, and has the appearance of a rich chocolate- 
coloured mould, which retains the moisture well. The timber which 
grows upon it is closer and heavier than in the sandstone districts : it 
is principally Eucalyptus, of several species. The grass is thinly 
spread over the ground, and the cattle and sheep require a great 
range. One sheep to an acre is the allotment, and even in this pro- 
portion they suffer in dry seasons. There are no running streams 
of water on this estate; but, as has been remarked, the pools are 
numerous, a most happy circumstance for the country, for from these 
alone can the cattle be supplied. Argyle is the only place w T here 
springs were seen in this part of the country, and they are scanty. 
The crops of wheat were unusually good, but they were the first that 
had been collected for three years. 

The variety of birds seen here, and the brilliancy of their plumage, 
are characteristic of Australia. All the birds are remarkable for the 
closeness of their plumage, and the neatness of their form ; many of 
the species are peculiar to Australia, and are more nearly allied to 
those of the western part of the Indian Archipelago than of any 
other region. Even this analogy is extremely limited. Many of the 


Australian species are said to be confined to peculiar districts, which 
they only leave on emergency, from want of food, &c. 

Mr. Coxen, near Peuen Beuen, informed our gentlemen that 
several birds had made their appearance around his dwelling that 
season, that were not known within a hundred miles of his place 
before. From the little that is known of the ornithology of the rest 
of New Holland, it seems that the same general character prevails 
throughout the whole continent, and there are grounds for believing 
that there is a complete diversity in the species from those of New 
Guinea. As an instance of this, it may be stated that none of the 
paradise-birds, so common in the islands to the north, have been found 
in Australia; and what appears to add strength to this opinion, is the 
fact that the land-birds of Norfolk Island are all known to be peculiar. 

The number of parrots that are seen is very great. They usually 
occupy the tops of trees, and are remarkable for the rapidity of their 
flight, particularly a green species, little larger than a humming-bird, 
with which the trees occasionally swarm. Other birds, hardly known 
to the ornithologist, are also numerous; but Mr. Gould, who is eminent 
in that department of natural history, is now engaged in making col- 
lections, and will probably, ere long, give a full account of the habits 
and economy of the Australian birds. 

The Australian wood-pecker is the famous bill-bird, whose note is 
always hailed with joy by the traveller in these arid regions, as a 
sign of the vicinity of water. The sound resembles the click of a 
stone-hammer, and the effect of the united notes of several, is similar 
to the frog concerts of our springs. According to Mr. Coxen, each 
bird utters a single note. 

It was remarked that the native animals of Australia are fast disap- 
pearing. The kangaroo, once so numerous, is now seldom seen ; but 
the native dog still commits ravages among the sheep.* Some of 
the animals which have become rare are preserved in the Sydney 
Museum ; among these are the woombat (Cheropus), and the Orni- 
thorhynchus, in relation to which so many questions have been raised. 
Snakes of many kinds still abound, even in the immediate vicinity 
of Sydney, whose bite is said to be fatal, and which is, of course, 
much dreaded. The stories that are related of such poisonous bites, 
and the dread of them that animals show, make those who wander 

* The natives had never attempted to domesticate the dog, and all of the species found, 
when the country was colonized, were wild. 


through the paths extremely cautious, particularly as their small size 
and grassy colour render them difficult to be seen. 

Among the distinguished gentlemen of the colony, to whose hospi- 
tality our naturalists were indebted, is John Blaxland, Esq., who 
resides at Newington, on the river, near Paramatta. The ladies of 
his family are in possession of a handsome hortus siccus of native 
plants, collected and prepared by themselves. 

A part of this gentleman's estate consists of extensive salt-works, 
formed by drawing the tide-water from the river into ponds. In these 
it is evaporated as much as possible by the heat of the sun, and is 
afterwards boiled. The quantity of salt made at these works during 
the preceding year (1838) was one thousand tons. About seventy 
assigned servants (convicts) are employed in the manufacture. 

The water from the ocean is far from being the only source of this 
necessary of life in Australia. Salt springs are abundant, and almost 
all the wells, particularly those of the sandstone region, are said to 
afford only brackish water. The small streams, and in dry seasons 
even the rivers, are found to be salt ; and there is hardly a traveller or 
navigator, but has given an account of his disappointment, in finding 
salt water, when every indication gave the promise of fresh. 

Major Mitchell attributes the occasional saltness of the Darling 
river, to salt springs, or to its passing through beds of rock salt. This 
river, as has been stated, has no tributary for more than six hundred 
miles, and has at times little or no current ; and it is where the stream 
has no sensible motion, that the saltness is most marked. The salt 
appears to cover but a small area at any one place, and it has been 
observed that within a short distance of each other, fresh and salt 
rivulets may be seen, pursuing the same direction, and each retaining 
its character throughout its whole course. 

The lakes in the eastern section of Australia are also nearly all 
either salt or brackish. Lake George, situated beyond Goulburn, 
near the source of the Yass river, which empties into the Murrum- 
bidgee, is the largest of these lakes. It is at present only five or six 
miles in length, by about four in width, although, according to un- 
questionable authority, it was, within twelve or fourteen years, sixteen 
miles long by twelve wide. Lake Bathurst, which is not far distant 
from Lake George, has also undergone a similar diminution. In the 
latter lake there are to be seen stumps of trees, which prove, that 
although within a few years a considerable lake, and at present 
decreasing in its extent, it had at a former, and that at no remote 


epoch, been a marsh, if not actually dry land. Should its present 
diminution continue, which must take place if the seasons of drought 
are not interrupted, it will in a few years be again dry land.* 

The facts observed at these lakes prove in the most conclusive 
manner the very great irregularity in the climate of New South 
Wales. It would appear from them, that, however great the floods 
now occasionally experienced are considered, those that have occurred 
must have exceeded them, and filled the basins of these lakes, to 
such a depth, that within the fifty years that they have been known, 
the excess of evaporation has not been sufficient to restore them to 
their pristine state. 

In conformity with the condition of these lakes, many places now 
dry are pointed out, where, within the memory of the settlers, lakes 
or ponds existed ; and near the course of streams, grass is to be seen 
attached to the trunks of trees thirty feet above the present level of 
the water, which must have been lodged there by very great floods. 

The great and important changes that floods of such extent and 
destructive force must produce on the face of the country, may be 
imagined, and particularly when like New South Wales it is princi- 
pally composed of soft sandstone. To such causes may be ascribed 
the numerous coves of the harbours and bays, and the deep ravines 
which often break the monotony of the table-land. In relation to the 
bays and coves, Major Mitchell remarks, that they generally have a 
direction either from north-northeast to south-southwest, or from west- 
northwest to east-southeast. Our o-eoloarist observed a coincidence of 
the fissures of the sandstone rock with the same points of the com- 
pass. This double and intersecting direction of the fissures, gives to 
portions of the rock which are bare, the appearance of an artificial 
pavement of enormous blocks. This appearance is well marked, and 
can be readily observed in the variegated layers of the sandstone 
cliffs near the Heads of Port Jackson. 

Earthquakes are occasionally felt in New South Wales. The 
recorded accounts of these are necessarily imperfect ; they, however, 
show that within the last fifty years, six are known to have occurred, 

* In the basins of the salt lakes of the interior, plants which grow on the shores of the 
ocean are found in abundance ; as for instance the Salsola. These lakes even exceed 
in saltness the waters of the ocean ; those brought by Major Mitchell, and analyzed, 
contained one hundred and thirteen grains of dry salt in three ounces of water; the 
specific gravity of the water was from 1-0386 to l - 0553. 

vol. ii. 72 


viz., on the 22d of January, 1785, the 17th January, 1801, the 7th 
May, 1804, the 24th September, 1806, the 28th November, 1823, 
and the 2d August, 1837. That of 28th November, 1823, was also 
felt at Laurie's-town, Van Diemen's Land. 

As far as could be learnt, these earthquakes did no material 
damage. It may, however, be inferred from the nature of the 
country, that violent commotions have' taken place in former times. 
Major Mitchell has stated, and the fact was confirmed by the 
personal examination of our geologist, Mr. Dana, that an alteration 
in the relative level of the sea is abundantly evident on the cliffs of 
the coast. 

The Burning Mountain of Win^en is something analogous to a 
crater, which it was not in the power of any of our parties to reach. 
According to Major Mitchell, it appears to be the same kind of 
phenomenon as that described by Professor Buckland and Mr. De 
la Beche, caused by the action of rain-water on iron pyrites, which 
sets fire to the bituminous shale. The combustion of Wingea ex- 
tends over an area of about two miles in extent, and occurs near the 
summit of a group of hills, forming part of a low chain which divides 
the valley of Kingdom Ponds from that of Page's river. Blue smoke 
ascends from rents and cracks ; the breadth of the widest of which 
measures about three feet. A red heat appears at the depth of about 
four fathoms, and no marks of any extensive change appear on the 
surface near these burning fissures, although the growth of large 
trees in old cracks on the opposite slope where ignition had ceased, 
shows that this fire had continued for a very considerable time. 
The height of this crater is about fifteen hundred feet above the level 
of the sea. 

The trade of Australia is greatly on the increase. Nearly all of it 
centres in Sydney ; and this will account for the rapid rise of that 
city, which not only has the finest port, but the most central position 
as respects the east coast. By a reference to the official documents in 
the Appendix, from XIV. to XX., the rapid increase of the commerce 
of Sydney will be seen ; but they give only an imperfect idea of the 
life and animation that this port exhibits, or of the bustle attendant on 
the receiving of produce and forwarding of supplies to the interior, 
on the arrival of emigrants. The warehouses, and all works con- 
nected with this trade, are of a durable description. The number of 
vessels that entered Port Jackson in 1826, was sixty-two, and their 


tonnage seventeen thousand one hundred and seventy-eight tons ; in 
1S40 they had increased to seven hundred and nine, and the tonnage 
to one hundred and seventy-eight thousand nine hundred and fifty- 
eight tons. The value of imports in 1826 was sixty thousand pounds; 
in 1840, it had increased to three millions fourteen thousand one 
hundred and eighty-nine pounds. That of exports, in 1826, was 
one hundred and six thousand six hundred pounds; in 1840, they 
amounted to one million three hundred and ninety-nine thousand six 
hundred and ninety two pounds. 

It will also be seen that in the return of vessels built and registered 
in 1822, there were but three, of only one hundred and sixty-three 
tons; in 1840, one hundred and eleven vessels, the amount of whose 
tonnage was thirteen thousand three hundred and forty-nine tons. 

But the most remarkable increase is in the exportation of wool, 
which in 1822 was only one hundred and seventy-two thousand eight 
hundred and eighty pounds, while in 1840 it amounted to eight 
millions six hundred and ten thousand seven hundred and seventy- 
five pounds. This is not the only instance, for a greater or less 
increase has occurred in all the productions of the colony. The quan- 
tity of timber exported forms also no inconsiderable item. The 
returns are referred to as showing it, in Appendix XXII. 

The fisheries begin to claim attention, and in particular the whale- 
fishery, as it requires comparatively a small capital, and the returns 
are quickly realized. The operations of this fishery are conducted 
with great success, a ready market being found at Sydney, and the 
great saving by arriving on and returning from their cruising-grounds 
without loss of time, adds greatly to their gains. They are, however, 
not as adroit in the pursuit of these treasures as our own countrymen ; 
their vessels are sailed at greater expense, and the officers and crews 
less enterprising. The value of this trade and its yearly increase is 
exhibited in the official returns, by which it appears that in 1830, 
fifty -nine thousand four hundred and seventy-one pounds were derived 
from it, while in 1840 it amounted to two hundred and twenty-four 
thousand one hundred and forty-four pounds. I heard many com- 
plaints that our whalers were in the habit of taking whales and 
obtained much of their oil in the bays on the western coast of New 
Holland ; and the remark was made, that if the colonists were not 
brought into collision with the Yankees, they would succeed well 
enough. This, I suppose, may be considered as complimentary to 
the energy and skill of this enterprising portion of our citizens. The 


whales are reported to be fast leaving their old haunts, in consequence 
of being disturbed in their calving season, and the places where they 
used to abound are now only the resort of a few. It is, therefore, sup- 
posed they are abandoning the waters of New Holland for other seas, 
where they are less disturbed. 

There is now a large export of salted provisions from the colony, 
which are well prepared, and there is a considerable trade with the 
Mauritius and the Cape of Good Hope ; the former supplying sugar, 
&c, in return for the cattle and produce of the dairy ; while from the 
latter wine is imported in considerable quantities, and other spirits 
to a large amount, as has been already noticed. 

The declared value of exports of British and Irish produce and 
manufactures to New South Wales, for the year ending January 5th, 
1840, was one million four hundred and forty thousand four hundred 
and forty pounds : and of foreign and colonial produce, two hundred 
and eighty-nine thousand and seventy-two pounds. In return for 
which the colony sent back, in 1839, six millions eight hundred and 
ninety-four thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight pounds of wool, 
besides twenty-three thousand barrels of oil. 

The number of vessels employed with passengers was four hundred 
and sixteen, measuring forty-eight thousand nine hundred and eleven 

The export of wool during 1840 was nearly one million pounds of 
wool more ; the increase in the number of sheep in the colony during 
late years has been very great. In 1796, eight years after the colony 
was established, they numbered one thousand five hundred and 
thirty -one; in 1805, six thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven; in 
1821, one hundred and twenty thousand ; and in 1839, three millions. 

There will also be found in Appendix XIV., an official abstract, 
showing the assets, liabilities, capital, and profits of the banks of the 
colony, by which it appears that the rate of interest derived from 
investment amounts to eleven and a half per cent, for the year 1841. 
Business is almost done entirely on credit, and large discounts are 
made by the banks for the accommodation of merchants. 

The seal-fishery on this coast was formerly very successful ; but in 
consequence of the immense numbers that were destroyed without 
regard to season, they have been almost exterminated, or driven to 
new haunts. The seal-fishery, which has heretofore yielded so large 
an amount of wealth, will soon be at an end in this quarter of the world. 

It frequently happens that owing to the failure of the harvests, the 


colony is under great distress for provisions. Government is erecting 
deposits for grain, in order to obviate this difficulty ; one of which is 
on an island in the harbour of Port Jackson. Heretofore, on a failure 
of the crops, large quantities of flour have been imported from France 
and America, and many cargoes of wheat and rice from India. 

The commerce with the United States is very limited, and confined 
as yet to a single house, in Salem, Massachusetts, which has a few 
vessels employed in bringing out flour, tobacco, furniture, ice, &c. 
In exchange, wool and hides have been taken to the United States. 
This trade has hitherto been profitable ; but the uncertainty of crops, 
and consequent fluctuation in the market, would, with competition, 
render it of no great advantage. 

The Library, and Sydney Museum are creditable institutions, 
particularly the latter, which contains a large and interesting collec- 
tion of native productions. It has only been established a few years. 
There is a reading-room attached to the Library, in which are to be 
found all the pamphlets and periodicals published in Sydney, and 
many of those of Europe. Soon after our arrival, we received an 
invitation to visit these institutions at all times; a privilege which 
afforded us much pleasure and instruction, and for which we are 
greatly indebted to the committee and the librarian. 

Great Britain has three other colonies in Australia, at Swan River, 
on the west coast, South Australia on the south, and North Australia 
on the north coast. The former is considered, in the colony of 
New South Wales, as a bad speculation, and it is alleged that it needs 
the aid of convicts or slaves for its advancement. It is believed that 
all the first settlers, if not completely ruined, have been struggling 
with difficulties, and its growth, even should it continue, will be 
slow and precarious. 

Orders were received from the home department to raise the 
minimum price of land ; but it being left optional with the Governor, 
he had declined doing it, under the plea that if individuals would sell 
land for two shillings and sixpence, it was idle to raise that of 
government to twelve shillings, particularly as the price allowed to 
individuals for surrendering their lands was but one shilling- and 
sixpence. This step, of raising the minimum price of crown lands, 
I was informed, had given much dissatisfaction, and was generally 
believed to have originated in the desire to force colonization to 
South Australia, which has lately increased in an extraordinary 

vol. ii. 73 


degree; in 1836, its population was only two hundred, and in 1839, 
eight thousand two hundred and fifty, principally owing to the 
encouragement held out by the funds derived from the sale of lands. 
Adelaide and Port Lincoln are the two principal points, and the 
latter, according to the accounts of those interested, " has every 
advantage under the sun!" 

The journey over land from Yass to Adelaide, it is said, can be 
performed with cattle and sheep in sixty days. The schemers here 
are as eager and enthusiastic for improvements, as with us, and among 
them much stress is laid upon the difficulties of inland transportation, 
to overcome which, as the country is too thinly settled for railroads, 
the introduction of camels from Africa has been proposed ; and it is 
believed that the country is well adapted to them. 

The population of New South Wales, by the census of 1841, in- 
cluding 26,967 convicts, was 130,856. A very minute table of the 
census of the above years will be found in Appendix XIII. 

I was not able to obtain any accurate statistical returns of the three 
other colonies ; both North and South Australia are rapidly increasing, 
particularly the latter : fifteen thousand is believed to be the total 
amount of their population and that of West Australia. 

To return again to the squadron and our occupations : by the 
18th December, I had finished my observatory duties, and feeling 
deeply sensible of the great kindness and attention we had received 
from not only the Governor, military, and civil officers, but from all 
the society, I gave a lunch at Fort Macquarie previous to delivering 
it up, and had the honour of entertaining those who had received us 
so warmly. Although the weather was unpropitious, many of our 
friends presented themselves ; the affair passed off in great good 
fellowship ; and we had the satisfaction of seeing our guests retire 
apparently gratified. Owing to the weather, the number of ladies 
was not so great as we had hoped, but there were enough to add 
dancing to the other amusements of the occasion. Many patriotic 
toasts were exchanged, and an effect seldom witnessed, produced on 
the company by the picture drawn by the Polish Count Strezleski, 
(well known in our country,) of the reception his destitute country- 
men had met with on our shores, and the liberality of our government 
in providing for them. Those who heard his statement will not soon 
forget the thrill it produced. 

During our stay at Port Jackson, our vessels were much visited by 


all classes ; and a great many inquiries made respecting our accom- 
modations, &c. All seemed disappointed at not being able to see the 
same complete outfits in our vessels as they had seen described in the 
published accounts of those of the English expedition commanded 
by Captain James Ross. They inquired whether we had compart- 
ments in our ships to prevent us from sinking ; how we intended to 
keep ourselves warm 1 What kind of antiscorbutic we were to use ? 
and where were our great ice-saws ? To all of these questions I was 
obliged to answer, to their great apparent surprise, that we had none, 
and to agree with them that we were unwise to attempt such service 
in ordinary cruising vessels ; but we had been ordered to go, and that 
was enough ! and go we should. This want of preparation certainly 
did not add to the character for wisdom of our government, with 
this community ; but they saw us all cheerful, young, and healthy, 
and gave us the character, that I found our countrymen generally 
bear, of recklessness of life and limb. The tender Flying-Fish 
excited their astonishment more than the ships, from her smallness 
and peculiar rig ; and, altogether, as a gentleman told me, most of 
our visiters considered us doomed to be frozen to death. I did not 
anticipate such a fate, although I must confess I felt the chances 
were much against us, in case we were compelled to winter within 
the Antarctic. From every calculation, we could not stow quite 
twelve months' provision, even upon short allowance ; our fuel was 
inadequate to last us more than seven months, and the means of pro- 
tecting ourselves in the ships for winter quarters, were any thing but 
sufficient. My mind naturally suffered a great deal of anxiety on all 
these points, and I felt myself not a little depressed by it, particularly 
when I considered the state of the Peacock. The carpenter of that 
ship, shortly after our arrival at Sydney, had reported to her com- 
mander, Captain Hudson, that the whole of her upper works were 
rotten, and required a survey. The vessel was quietly examined 
into without holding one, and her state was found even worse than 
represented. I had many long consultations with Captain Hudson, 
and found it was impossible to put upon her the necessary repairs, 
without her giving up the southern cruise. We made up our minds 
that it was absolutely necessary for the credit of the Expedition and 
the country for her to perform it; for we were well satisfied that 
improper imputations, and motives, would be ascribed to us, if she 
did not, and was detained undergoing repairs, in a state of inactivity, 


during the season for operations in the high southern latitudes. The 
necessity I felt of subjecting so many lives in so unworthy a ship, 
caused me great anxiety during the whole cruise. The official 
papers forwarded to the Secretary of the Navy, upon this subject, will 
be found in Appendix XXI. 

All the vessels underwent the necessary repairs of calking, &c, 
and the Flying-Fish was furnished with two new masts of the kauri 
pine of New Zealand, some feet shorter and larger in diameter than 
her former ones. 

A few days before our departure, the British frigate Druid, Lord 
John Russel, commander, arrived from England, with Captain Hob- 
son, R. N., the new Governor (under the name of consul) for New 
Zealand. He was accompanied by a large retinue, and also had all 
kinds of facilities for his permanent and comfortable establishment 
there, among; which was a house in frame. 

The season of our visit to Sydney, was that of their summer (De- 
cember), and it was somewhat difficult for us to realize the luxuriance 
of vegetation about us. We could hardly become familiar with win- 
dows and doors entirely open at Christmas time. Although it was 
properly the out of town season, we found much gaiety existing, and 
we have great pleasure in acknowledging the attentions and civilities 
extended to us during the whole of our stay. 

The facilities for outfits here are such as are not to be found else- 
where in the Pacific. The mechanics are good, but as artisans are 
scarce their wages are exorbitant, and the employer is, for the most 
part, compelled to put up with their demands. From our experience, 
we inferred they are not to be depended on, and require to be well 
watched to obtain the requisite quantity of labour from them. Their 
rations of grog were always a stipulation made by them, and had to 
be complied with. 

During our stay here, our men behaved well. They all received 
leave in their turn to visit the shore, and I felt gratified in not having 
a single case reported to me of bad behaviour on shore. 

As our departure drew near, one and all of us felt and expressed 
regret at leaving such kind friends. In very many places and fami- 
lies, we had found ourselves at home, and were always received with 
that kindness that showed us we were welcome. The seasons, with 
many other things, may be reversed, yet the hospitality of old Eng- 
land is found here as warm and fresh as ever it was in the parent 


land. It would be impossible to mention all those to whom we feel 
indebted for various kindnesses and attentions, or even to cite those 
from whom the Expedition received many accessions to its collections. 
Notwithstanding I have mentioned many things that have struck us 
as requiring great reform, yet the whole impression left on my mind 
is, that it is a glorious colony, which the mother country, and the 
whole Anglo-Saxon race, may well be proud of, and that it ought to 
claim much more attention than it apparently does, from the home 
goA r ernment. 

After writing our farewell letters, we took our Christmas dinner 
with many of our friends, and on the morning of the 26th December, 
at six o'clock — the very day that had been set apart for my departure, 
before sailing from the United States — we weighed our anchors and 
stood down the bay. The day was fine, the breeze light and con- 
trary, and we did not get to sea till the afternoon. When we were 
about passing the Heads, our worthy consul, and some others of our 
countrymen, took their leave, and by way of dispelling the gloom that 
was naturally felt at parting, and to show the good wishes entertained 
for their welfare, we gave them at parting several hearty cheers, and 
then bore away on our course. 

It falling calm, the Vincennes and tender were obliged to anchor 
between the Heads. The Peacock and Porpoise succeeded in getting 
outside, and when the tide made, we weighed and stood after them. 
On getting to sea, although every search had been previously made 
by the master-at-arms, I learned that there were two strangers on 
board, who had contrived to evade his watchfulness, and on beating 
to quarters, and mustering the crew, they were among the forth- 
coming. Their appearance was any thing but convict-like ; but I 
felt, after all the attentions heaped upon us, it was seemingly but an 
ungrateful return, to appear to have committed an infraction of their 
laws, and this after I had received intimation that an attempt would 
be made, through us, to effect desertion among the troops. From 
their appearance and carriage I thought they showed the drill of 
soldiers, and at once told them and the assembled crew, that they 
were mistaken if they expected to be harboured as siich, and that in 
my return from the south, I should send them back to Sydney to be 
delivered over. I then entered them on the rolls for provisions only, 
until I ascertained whether they were entitled to receive compensa- 
tion ; and after telling the men they must look forward to a hard and 

vol. ii. 74 



dangerous cruise, and saying a few words relative to what was ex- 
pected of them by the country and myself, I enjoined upon them the 
necessity of economy in their food and clothing, in aiding me in my 
endeavours to promote their health and comfort. We then piped 
down, and set about preparing the ship for the Antarctic cruise, the 
events of which will be detailed in the following chapters. 







The subjects of which I am about to treat in the following chapters 
are exclusively nautical. I shall, therefore, adopt in treating them 
more of the form of a log-book, and follow the daily order of their 
occurrence with more strictness than I have hitherto considered 
necessary. This will be done in order to illustrate more fully the 
nature of the remote regions we traversed, and for the purpose of 
giving a more exact relation of the incidents of this part of our cruise, 
— incidents that I cannot but hope have made this part of our labours 
particularly interesting to all of our countrymen who possess a 
feeling of national pride. 

The credit of these discoveries has been claimed on the part of one 
foreign nation, and their extent, nay, actual existence, called into 
question by another; both having rival Expeditions abroad, one at 
the same time, the other the year succeeding. 

Each of these nations, with what intent I shall not stop to inquire, 
has seemed disposed to rob us of the honour by underrating the 
importance of their own researches, and would restrict the Antarctic 
land to the small parts they respectively saw. However willing I 
might be in a private capacity to avoid contesting their statements, 
and let truth make its own way, I feel it due to the honour of our 
flag to make a proper assertion of the priority of the claim of the 
American Expedition, and of the greater extent of its discoveries and 

That land does exist within the Antarctic Circle is now confirmed 
by the united testimony of both French and English navigators. 
D'Urville, the celebrated French navigator, within a few days after 

vol. ii. 75 


land was seen by the three vessels of our squadron, reports that his 
boats landed on a small point of rocks, at the place (as I suppose) 
which appeared accessible to us in Piner's Bay, whence the Vin- 
cennes was driven by a violent gale ; this he called Clarie Land, and 
testifies to his belief of the existence of a vast tract of land, where our 
view of it has left no doubt of its existence. Ross, on the other hand, 
penetrated to the latitude of 79° S. in the succeeding year, coasted for 
some distance along a lofty country connected with our Antarctic con- 
tinent, and establishes beyond all cavil the correctness of our assertion, 
that we have discovered, not a range of detached islands, but a vast 
Antarctic continent. How far Captain Ross was guided in his search 
by our previous discoveries, will best appear by reference to the chart, 
with a full account of the proceedings of the squadron, which I sent 
to him, and which I have inserted in Appendix XXIV. and Atlas ; 
although I have never received any acknowledgment of their receipt 
from him personally, yet I have heard of their having reached his 
hands a few months prior to his Antarctic cruise. Of this, however, I 
do not complain, and feel only the justifiable desire to maintain the 
truth in relation to a claim that is indisputable. The following narra- 
tive must, I feel satisfied, leave no doubt in any unprejudiced mind of 
the correctness of the assertion that we have discovered a vast conti- 
nent ; but I would ask in advance, who was there prior to 1 840, either 
in this country or in Europe, that had the least idea that any large 
body of land existed to the south of New Holland ? and who is there 
that now doubts the fact, whether he admits it to be a vast continent, 
or contends that it is only a collection of islands? 

Examine all the maps and charts published up to that time, and 
upon them will any traces of such land be found ? They will not, 
and for the very best of reasons — none was known or even suspected 
to exist. We ourselves anticipated no such discovery; the indications 
of it were received -with doubt and hesitation; I myself did not 
venture to record in my private journal the certainty of land, until 
three days after those best acquainted with its appearance in these 
high latitudes were assured of the fact; and finally, to remove all 
possibility of doubt, and to prove conclusively that there was no 
deception in the case, views of the same land were taken from the 
vessels in three different positions, with the bearings of its peaks 
and promontories, by whose intersection their position is nearly as 
well established as the peaks of any of the islands we surveyed from 
the sea. 


All doubt iii relation to the reality of our discovery gradually wore 
away, and towards the close of the cruise of the Vincennes along the 
icy barrier, the mountains of the Antarctic continent became familiar 
and of daily appearance, insomuch that the log-book, which is guard- 
edly silent as to the time and date of its being first observed, now 
speaks throughout of " the land." 

After leaving Sydney we had, until the 31st December,* fine 
weather and favourable winds. We took advantage of these, and 
all sail was crowded on the vessels of the squadron ; at the above date 
we had reached the latitude of 43° S. 

Under such circumstances, the usual order of sailing, in a line 
abreast, was easily maintained, and the communications between the 
vessels were frequent. On the 31st of December, I issued the sailing 
instructions for the cruise, which will be found in Appendix XXV. 

During this favourable weather, all hands were employed in 
tightening the ports, in order to secure the interior of the vessels as 
much as possible from the cold and wet, which were to be appre- 
hended in the region to which we were bound. For this purpose, 
after calking all the openings, the seams were covered with tarred 
canvass, over which strips of sheet-lead were nailed. The sailors 
exhibited great interest in these preparations, and studiously sought 
to make every thing snug ; all useless articles were stowed away in 
the hold, for we were in truth full to overflowing, and places at other 
times sacred were now crowded. 

It was fortunate that the weather for the first few days was so 
favourable ; for so full was every place, that we had been compelled 
to stow bread in the launch and cutter, and this in bulk; for the 
quantity was so much beyond that which had been carried on any 
former occasion, that a sufficient number of bags were not to be had, 
and in the hurry of its reception on board, time had not been 
found to provide them. Every ounce of bread thus exposed was 
looked to with solicitude, for there was a chance that all of it might 
be needed. 

Among other preparations, rough casings of boards were built 
around all the hatches, having doors furnished with weights and 
pulleys, in order to insure that they should not be left open. Having 
thus provided for the exclusion of cold air, I contented myself with 

* During the 29th, 30th, and 31st December, the sea was very phosphorescent; tem- 
perature 56°. 


preparations for keeping the interior of the vessel at a temperature 
no higher than 50°. I deemed this preferable to a higher tempera- 
ture, in order to prevent the injurious effects which might be produced 
by passing suddenly from below to the deck. I conceived it far more 
important to keep the air dry than warm, particularly as a lower 
temperature would have the effect of inducing the men to take 
exercise for the purpose of exciting their animal heat. 

Aware that warm and dry clothing was an object of the first 
importance, inspections of the men's feet and dress were held 
morning and evening, in which the wearing of a suitable number of 
garments was insisted upon, as well as the greatest personal cleanli- 
ness. With the same views, the drying-stoves were particularly 
attended to ; and that every part under deck might be effectually and 
quickly freed of moisture, additional stoves had been procured at 
Sydney. Thermometers were hung up in proper places, atid fre- 
quently consulted, in order by following their indications to secure an 
equable temperature, and at the time to ascertain when the use of 
stoves might be dispensed with, in whole or in part. The latter was 
an important consideration, for we were under the necessity of 
husbanding our stock of fuel, by expending it only when absolutely 

We also took advantage of the fine weather to bend all our best 
sails, and to shift our top-gallant masts. 

The 1st January was one of those days, which are termed, both 
at sea and on shore, a weather-breeder. The sea was smooth and 
placid, but the sky was in places lowering, and had a wintry cast, to 
which we had long been strangers ; the temperature shortly began to 
fall, the breeze to increase, and the weather to become misty. In a 
few hours we were sailing rapidly through the water, with a rising 
sea, and by midnight it was reported that the tender Flying-Fish 
was barely visible. I shortened sail, but it was difficult to stop our 
way ; and on the morning of the 2d of January, the fog was dense, 
and the Peacock and Porpoise only were in sight; we hove-to, and 
the Peacock and Porpoise were ordered to stand east and west, in 
order to intercept the tender, but they returned without success ; we 
also fired guns in hopes of being heard. In the afternoon, I deemed 
it useless to wait any longer for her, and that I must take the chance 
of falling in with her at Macquarie Island, our first appointed place 
of rendezvous, — a visit to which I had flattered myself might have 
been avoided, but which it became necessary now to make. We 


accordingly proceeded on our course for that island, with all sail set. 
This separation of the tender took place in the latitude of 48° S., and 
she was not again seen until our return. The officers and crew were 
not slow in assigning to the Flying-Fish a similar fate with her 
unfortunate mate, the Sea-Gull. Men-of-war's men are prone to 
prognosticate evil, and on this occasion they were not wanting in 
various surmises. Woful accounts were soon afloat of the distress 
the schooner Avas in when last seen, — and this in quite a moderate 

The barometer now began to assume a lower range, and the tem- 
perature to fall below 50°. On the 3d, the fog continuing very thick, 
the Peacock got beyond hearing of our horns, bells, drums, and guns, 
and was parted with. This, however, I did not now regret so 
much, as it was of little consequence whether we sought one or two 
vessels at our rendezvous, although it might cause a longer detention 

The wind was now (5th January) veering rapidly to the north- 
west, with some thunder and lightning, and we in consequence 
expected the wind to haul to the southwest, but, to my surprise, it- 
went back to the northeast, with thick rainy weather. This return of 
the wind to its old quarter followed a fall of the barometer to 2960 in., 
and in a few hours afterwards to 29-30 in., while the weather con- 
tinued moderate ; a large number of albatrosses, Port Egmont hens, 
and petrels, were seen. 

For the last few days we were unable to get any observations, but 
on the 6th we were favoured with a sight of the sun, and found 
ourselves in the latitude of 53° 30' S., and longitude 157° 35' E. 
Our variation had increased to fifteen and a half degrees easterly. 
This being a fine day, we completed our calking, and the more 
effectual securing of the ship. At midnight we were about fifty 
miles from Macquarie Island. 

The morning of the 7th was misty, with squally weather. A 
heavy sea rising, and a strong gale setting in, we lost sight of the 
Porpoise for a few hours. Being unable to see beyond an eighth of 
a mile, it was thought imprudent to run, for fear of passing the island, 
and we hove-to to await its moderating. It cleared at noon, and we 
obtained an observation, by which we found ourselves in latitude 
54° 20' S., and longitude 160° 47' E. I found that we had been 
carried to the eastward upwards of twenty miles in less than eighteen 
hours ; this, with the wind hauling to the southwest, brought us to 

vol. ii. 76 


leeward of the island, and the sea and wind increasing, I saw it was 
useless to attempt to reach it without great loss of time. I therefore 
bore off to the southward for our second rendezvous, Emerald Island, 
or its supposed locality. 

On the morning of the 8th, the wind, which continued from the 
same quarter with heavy cumulous clouds, began to moderate, and 
we were enabled to make more sail. By our observations, we found 
a current setting to the southeast, of one mile an hour. Our lon- 
gitude was 162° 13' E., latitude 55° 38' S. ; the barometer stood at 
3000 in., the temperature had fallen to 38°; and this change, on 
account of the rawness of the air, was much felt by the crew. 

During the 9th we passed the site of Emerald Isle, situate, as 
has been stated, in latitude 57° 15' S., and longitude 162° 30' E., 
but saw nothing of it, nor any indications of land, which I therefore 
infer does not exist in the locality where it is laid down. We again 
experienced the southeast current of twenty miles a day. Our 
variation had increased to twenty-two degrees easterly. Making our 
course with all sail set, the Porpoise in company, we passed to-day 
some pieces of kelp. The temperature continued at 38°. Numerous 
flocks of gray petrels around us. 

The 10th we encountered the first iceberg, and the temperature of 
the water fell to 32°. We passed close to it, and found it a mile long, 
and one hundred and eighty feet in height. We had now reached the 
latitude of 61° 08' S.. and longitude 162° 32' E. The current to-day 
set in the same direction as before, about half a mile per hour. The 
second iceberg seen was thirty miles, and the third about fifty-five 
miles south of the first. These ice-islands were apparently much 
worn by the sea into cavities, exhibiting fissures as though they were 
ready to be rent asunder, and showed an apparent stratification, much 
inclined to the horizon. The weather now became misty, and we 
had occasionally a little snow ; I congratulated myself that we had 
but few on the sick-list, and all were in high spirits at the novelty of 
the cruise. We continued to meet icebergs of different heights, some 
of which, though inclined to the horizon, had a plane upper surface. 

11th. The fair wind from the northwest, (accompanied with a light 
mist, rendering objects on the horizon indistinct,) still enabled us to 
pursue our course southerly. Icebergs became so numerous as to com- 
pel us occasionally to change our course. They continued of the same 
character, with caverns worn in their perpendicular sides, and with 
flat tops, but the latter were now on a line with the horizon. Towards 


6 p. m., we began to perceive smaller pieces of ice, some of which 
were not more than an eighth of a mile in length, floating as it were 
in small patches. As the icebergs increased in number, the sea 
became smoother, and there was no apparent motion. Between 8 
and 9 p. m., a low point of ice was perceived ahead, and in a short 
time we passed within it. There was now a large bay before us. 
As the vessel moved rapidly, at 10J p. M. we had reached its extreme 
limits, and found our further progress entirely stopped by a compact 
barrier of ice, enclosing large square icebergs. The barrier consisted 
of masses closely packed, and of every variety of shape and size. 
We hove-to until full daylight ; the night was beautiful, and every 
thing seemed sunk in sleep, except the sound of the distant and low 
rustling of the ice that now and then met the ear. We had now 
reached the latitude of 64° 11' S., longitude 164° 30' E., and found 
our variation twenty-two degrees easterly. One and all felt disap- 
pointed, for we had flattered ourselves that the way was open for 
further progress to the southward, and had imbibed the impression 
(from the extraordinary weather we had had at Sydney, and the 
reports of icebergs having been seen farther to the northward than 
usual, by all the vessels arriving) that the season would be an open 
one. What surprised me most was a change in the colour of the 
water to an olive green, and some faint appearances resembling dis- 
tant land ; but as it was twilight, and I did not believe the thing 
credible, I put no faith in these indications, although some of the 
officers w T ere confident they were not occasioned by icebergs. The 
barometer stood at 29-200 in.; the temperature of the air 33°, water 
32°. We lay-to until four o'clock. As it grew light, on the 12th, a 
fog set in so thick that we lost sight of the Porpoise, and could not 
hear any answer to our signals. I therefore determined to work along 
the barrier to the westward. 

We were all day beating in a thick fog, with the barrier of ice 
close to us, and occasionally in tacking brought it under our bow ; at 
other times we were almost in contact with icebergs. During- the 
whole day w r e could not see at any time further than a quarter of a 
mile, and seldom more than the ship's length. The fog, or rather 
thick mist, was forming in ice on our rigging. From the novelty 
of our situation, and the excitement produced by it, we did not think 
of the danger. I shall now leave the Vincennes and Porpoise pur- 
suing their course to the westward with a head wind, and bring the 
Peacock up to the barrier. 


Previously to parting company on the 3d of January, the crew of 
that ship had also been engaged in building hurricane-houses, calk- 
ing and chintzing, to secure them from the wet and cold. After 
parting company, Captain Hudson immediately steered for the first 
rendezvous, Macquarie Island, and was more fortunate than we were 
in reaching it, although the Peacock had experienced the same kind 
of weather that we had, and currents setting to the eastward. 


On approaching the island, they discovered large patches of kelp, 
and saw numerous procellaria and albatrosses about the ship. On the 
10th of January they made the island, and observed a reef of rocks 
extending three quarters of a mile off its south end. Passing within 
a short distance of it, they did not observe any of the signals of the 
squadron flying as they had anticipated. They, notwithstanding, 
stood in, lowered a boat, and despatched several officers to put up the 
signal, make experiments, and collect specimens. The boat ap- 
proached an indentation on the west side, too open to be called a bay, 
and found that the surf was running high, and beating with great 
violence against the rocks, which, together with the kelp, rendered it 
dangerous to attempt landing. They made for several other places 
which looked favourable at a distance, but on approaching them, they 
were found even less accessible. The boat then returned to the first 
place to make another attempt, which was attended with great diffi- 
culty. The boat's anchor was dropped, and she was backed in with 
great caution to the edge of the rollers ; the surf was very high, and 
rolled in with a noise like thunder, breaking furiously upon the rocks, 
so as to make the boat fairly tremble, and threatening every moment 
to overwhelm her; once or twice she was prevented from getting 
broadside-to by hauling out towards her anchor. At length, after 
a dozen fruitless attempts, and awaiting a favourable opportunity, 
Mr. Eld, and a quarter-master, succeeded in getting ashore, but not 
without being immersed up to their breasts. It was found impossible 
to land any instruments ; and the quarter-master was despatched to 
erect the necessary signals, while Mr. Eld proceeded to visit the 


penguin-rookery not far distant. On approaching the island, it had 
appeared to be covered with white spots ; these excited conjecture ; 
but after landing, the exhalations rendered it not long doubtful that 
it was birdlime. 

Mr. Eld, in his journal, gives the following account of his visit : 
" Although I had heard so often of the great quantity of birds on the 
uninhabited islands, I was not prepared to see them in such myriads 
as here. The whole sides of the rugged hills were literally covered 
with them. Having passed a deep fissure in the rocks, I ascended a 
crag that led to what I thought was their principal roost, and at every 
step my astonishment increased. Such a din of squeaking, squalling, 
and gabbling, I never before heard or dreamed could be made by any 
of the feathered tribe. It was impossible to hear one's self speak. It 
appeared as if every one was vying with his neighbour to make the 
greatest possible noise. I soon found my presence particularly dis- 
pleased them, for they snapped at me in all directions, catching hold 
of my trousers, shaking and pinching my flesh so violently, as to 
make me flinch and stand upon the defensive. As we wanted a 
number of specimens, I commenced kicking them down the precipice, 
and knocked on the head those which had the temerity to attack me. 
After having collected a number, and a few eggs, I laid them aside, 
whilst I ascended higher on the hill. I had not left them more than 
eighteen feet, before two albatrosses came down, and commenced pick- 
ing at the dead birds I had just killed, but not being able to make 
any impression upon them, deliberately picked up two of the eggs 
with their beaks, and in spite of my efforts to prevent it, flew away 
with them. The eggs were about the size of a goose's ; the original 
colour seemed to have been white, but they were so dirty that it was 
difficult to say with certainty. They were no doubt the eggs of the 
penguin, as I took them out of their nest, which was only a small 
place scratched in the earth, just big enough to hold one or two eggs, 
with little or no grass, sticks, or any thing else to form a nest of. I 
afterwards picked up a number of these eggs, and another was found 
of the size of a hen's egg, white, with a slight tinge of green. On 
mounting still higher, which was very steep, and composed of vol- 
canic rock, loose stones, and a little soil mixed with birdlime, I found 
that there were more of these birds than I anticipated. The nests 
were within two feet of each other, with one or two young ones in 
each ; one of the old ones watching and sitting on the nest, whilst the 
young were trying ineffectually to nestle themselves under the small 

vol. ii. 77 


wings of the old ones. The appearance of the young was not unlike 
that of goslings, being covered with a dark thick down. 

"These penguins are the Eudyptes chrysocome; they are from 
sixteen to twenty inches in height, with white breast and nearly 
black back, the rest being of a dark dove-colour, with the exception 
of the head, which is adorned on each side with four or five yellow 
feathers three or four inches long, looking like graceful plumes. The 
birds stand erect in rows, which gives them the appearance of Lillipu- 
tian soldiers. The sight was novel and beautiful, and had it not been 
for the gabble, — enough to deafen me, — I could have stayed much 
longer. It was now time to return to the boat, when it occurred to 
me that live birds would be preferable to the dead; so throwing the 
latter down, I seized one old and a couple of young ones, and with 
three or four eggs in my cap, made the best of my way to the boat. 
It was now found impossible to hand them on board, and not willing 
to surrender my prize, a lead-line was thrown me from the boat, but 
did not come near enough, and in my attempts to get it, I was over- 
taken by a sea, and was thrown violently against the rocks among the 
kelp, and just made out to crawl on hands and knees beyond the 
reach of the returning sea, somewhat bruised, wet, and benumbed 
with the cold." 

At this juncture, the quarter-master returned with a large species 
of penguin over his shoulders, but without the crown of feathers on 
his head. He described a similar rookery, and also saw some green 
paroquets with a small red spot on the head, and an oblong slaty or 
purple spot at the root of the bill, and with straight beaks. Mr. Eld 
was too much exhausted to return with him to get specimens, and 
the hour being late, it was necessary to return to the boat, which had 
been waiting for some time for them. The quarter-master suc- 
ceeded in getting his penguins to the boat, but Mr. Eld's began floun- 
dering about, and although their legs were tied, managed to get into 
the water, where they were at home, and were soon out of reach. 
The tying of the legs did not seem any impediment to their exer- 
tions in the water, and thus several interesting specimens of natural 
history were lost, the trouble that it cost making them doubly valuable. 
With great difficulty Mr. Eld reached the boat, for having again 
missed his foothold, he fell among the kelp, but by the timely aid of 
those on board he was rescued. After an hour's tug at their oars, 
they reached the ship in safety. During their absence the ship 
sounded with a line of three hundred fathoms, two and a half miles 


from the shore ; but no bottom was found. The temperature of the 
water at the surface was 43°, and at three hundred fathoms deep 39°. 
The current was tried, but none found. 

The south end of Macquarie Island lies in latitude 54° 44' S., and 
longitude 159° 49' E. The island is high and much broken; it is 
apparently covered with verdure, although a long tufted rank grass 
was the only plant seen by those Avho landed. 

The highest peak on the island is from twelve to fifteen hundred 
feet high, and as far as our observations extended, it had neither tree 
nor shrub on it. At 6 p. m. the ship filled away, and at eight was 
abreast of the Bishop and Clerk. Macquarie Island affords no 
inducement for a visit, and as far as our examination went, has no 
suitable place for landing with a boat. The only thing I had to 
regret was not being able to make it a magnetic station. 

On the 11th and 12th nothing particular occurred on board the 
Peacock. All sail was set, and running to the southward on the 13th, 
in latitude 61° 30' S., longitude 161° 05' E., the first ice-islands were 
seen ; the dip was observed with Lloyd's and Dolland's needles, which 
made it 86° 53'. 

There was no occasion on the night of the 13th to light the bin- 
nacle-lamps, as newspaper print could be read with ease at midnight. 
On the 14th, while still making much progress to the south, and 
passing occasionally icebergs and brash ice, the water appeared 
somewhat discoloured. Robinson's, Lloyd's, and Dolland's needles, 
gave, the same day, in the cabin, 86° 37' for the dip, and in the ward- 
room, 86° 46'. Albatrosses, Cape pigeons, and other birds about. 

On the 15th, they passed many ice-islands. The weather was thick, 
and snow fell at intervals ; the wind continued from the westward. 
Many whales were seen ; albatrosses, petrels, and Cape pigeons were 
frequent about the ship. At 4 p. m., the mist raised a little, and to 
their surprise they saw a perfect barrier of ice, extending to the south- 
west, with several large icebergs enclosed within it ; shortly after, they 
discovered a sail, which proved to be the Porpoise. 

The Vincennes and Porpoise were left in our narrative near the icy 
barrier, separated by the fogs and mists that prevailed at times. The 
Porpoise, on the 13th, in latitude 65° 08' S., longitude 163° E., 
discovered several sea-elephants on the ice, and sent a boat to 
capture them, but without success. The current was tried, and 
found to set west one-fifth of a mile per hour. Some time afterwards, 
seeing some sea-elephants near the edge of the ice, a boat was sent, 


and succeeded in capturing a female. From the numerous sea- 
elephants, and the discoloration of the water and ice, they were 
strongly impressed with the idea of land being in the vicinity, but 
on sounding with one hundred fathoms, no bottom was found ; 
Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold felt convinced, from the above 
circumstances, and the report that penguins were heard, that land 
was near, and thought he could discern to the southeast something 
like distant mountains. A nearer approach was impossible, as they 
were then in actual contact with the icy barrier. 

On the 14th, at 3 p. m., the water being still discoloured, tried 
soundings, but found no bottom. 

Two sea-elephants were seen lying motionless on the ice. On being 
shot at, the animal would raise its head and look around for an instant, 
and then resume its former posture. Boats were lowered, when they 
were captured and brought on board : they proved to be the Phoca 
proboscidea. Dr. Holmes examined their stomachs, and found nothing 
but well-digested food. Their dimensions were as follows : 

Total length . . . . . . 10 feet, 9 inches. 

Length of posterior flipper . . . . 1 " 9 " 

Breadth 2 " 4 " 

Circumference of largest part of body . . 6 " 3 " 

This was a young female. The other was taken afterwards ; he 
measured — 

In length ....... 8 feet, 6 inches. 

Greatest circumference behind anterior flipper . 5 " " 

Length of flippers 1 " 5 " 

Breadth " 1 " 5 " 

On the 15th the Peacock and Porpoise were in company; the 
specimens of sea-elephants were put on board the Peacock, and after 
having had commuiaication with each other, the vessels again sepa- 
rated, standing on opposite tacks. 

On the 16th the three vessels were in longitude 157° 46' E., and all 
within a short distance of each other. The water was much disco- 
loured, and many albatrosses, Cape pigeons, and petrels were seen about 
the ships. On board the Vincennes, we sounded with two hundred and 
thirty fathoms, and found no bottom ; the water had the appearance 
of an olive green colour, as if but forty and fifty fathoms deep. 


At the surface, its temperature was 32°, at the depth sounded, 31°. I 
should have tried for a deeper cast, but the line was seen to be 
stranded, when we were obliged to stop ; we fortunately saved our 
apparatus, with Six's thermometers. 

On this day (16th January) appearances believed at the time to be 
land, were visible from all the three vessels, and the comparison of 
the three observations, when taken in connexion with the more posi- 
tive proofs of its existence afterwards obtained, has left no doubt that 
the appearance was not deceptive. From this day, therefore, we date 
the discovery which is claimed for the squadron. 

On board the Peacock, it appears that Passed Midshipmen Eld and 
Reynolds both saw the land from the masthead, and reported it to 
Captain Hudson : he was well satisfied on examination that the 
appearance was totally distinct from that of ice-islands, and a majority 
of the officers and men were also satisfied that if land could exist, that 
was it. I mention particularly the names of these two gentlemen, 
because they have stated the same fact under oath, before the court- 
martial, after our return. 

On board the Porpoise, Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold states 
that "he went aloft in the afternoon, the weather being clear and 
fine, the horizon good, and clouds lofty ; that he saw over the field- 
ice an object, large, dark, and rounding, resembling a mountain in the 
distance ; the icebergs were all light and brilliant, and in great con- 
trast." He goes on to say, in his report, " I watched for an hour to 
see if the sun in his decline would change the colour of the object : 
it remained the same, with a white cloud above, similar to that hover- 
ing over high land. At sunset the appearance remained the same. 
I took the bearings accurately, intending to examine it closely as soon 
as we got a breeze. I am thoroughly of opinion it is an island 
surrounded by immense fields of ice. The Peacock in sight to the 
southward and eastward over the ice ; the sun set at a few minutes 
before ten ; soon after, a light air from the southward, with a fog-bank 
arising, which quickly shut out the field-ice." 

In Passed Midshipman Eld's journal, he asserts that he had been 
several times to the masthead during the day, to view the barrier ; 
that it was not only a barrier of ice, but one of terra firma. Passed 
Midshipman Reynolds and himself exclaimed, with one accord, that 
it was land. Not trusting to the naked eye, they descended for spy- 
glasses, which confirmed, beyond a doubt, their first impressions. 
The mountains could be distinctly seen, over the field-ice and bergs, 

vol. ii. 78 


stretching to the southwest as far as any thing could be discerned. 
Two peaks, in particular, were very distinct, (which I have named 
after those two officers,) rising in a conical form ; and others, the 
lower parts of which were quite as distinct, but whose summits were 
lost in light fleecy clouds. Few clouds were to be seen in any other 
direction, for the weather was remarkably clear. The sun shone 
brightly, on ridge after ridge, whose sides were partially bare ; these 
connected the eminences I have just spoken of, which must be from 
one to two thousand feet high. Mr. Eld further states, that on 
reporting the discovery to Captain Hudson, the latter replied that 
there was no doubt of it, and that he believed that most of the ice- 
bergs then in sight were aground. At this time they were close in 
with the barrier, and could approach no nearer. On this day, the 
Peacock got a cast of the deep-sea lead, with Six's thermometer 
attached, to the depth of eight hundred and fifty fathoms, only a short 
distance from the barrier: the temperature of the surface was 31°, 
and at the depth sounded, 31^° ; current one-fourth of a mile, north- 

The log-book of the Porpoise has also this notice in it : " From six 
to eight, calm and pleasant, — took in studding-sails ; at seven set main- 
top-gallant studding-sail ; discovered what we took to be an island, 
bearing south-by-east, — a great deal of field-ice in sight; noticed 
penguins around the brig. (Signed) J. H. North." Dr. Holmes, on 
the same evening, noted in his journal, a marked appearance of land. 

On board the Vincennes there was on the same day much excite- 
ment among the crew. All eagerly watched the flight of birds, 
together with the whales and penguins, and spoke of the proximity 
of land, which, from the appearance of never-failing signs, could 
scarcely be doubted. The following is a sketch which I made of 
what I myself saw, and have called Ringgold's Knoll, on the chart, 
and which at the same time will show the field-ice* as it appeared. 

* The field-ice is composed of a vast number of pieces, varying in size, and separated 
from one another, the long swell keeping the outer ones always in motion. The 
smallest pieces were about six feet in diameter, while the largest sometimes exceeded five 
or six hundred feet. Their depth below the surface varies still more, and some appear 
to be soft, whilst others were hard and compact. The depth of these does not probably 
in any case exceed twenty feet. Most of them, and particularly the larger ones, had a 
covering of about eighteen inches of snow. The whole at a distance appeared like a vast 
level field, broken up as it were by the plough, and presenting shapeless angular masses 
of every possible figure, while here and there a table-topped iceberg was enclosed. 




This night we were beating with frequent tacks, in order to gain 
as much southing as possible. Previous to its becoming broad day- 
light, the fog rendered every thing obscure, even at a short distance 
from the ship. I knew that we were in close proximity to icebergs 
and field-ice, but from the report of the look-out, at sunset, believed 
that there was an opening or large bay leading to the southward. 
The ship had rapid way on her, and was much tossed about, when in 
an instant all was perfectly still and quiet; the transition was so 
sudden that many were awakened by it from sound sleep, and all 
well knew, from the short experience we had had, that the cessation 
of the sound and motion usual at sea, was a proof that we had run 
within a line of ice, — an occurrence from which the feeling of great 
danger is inseparable. The watch was called by the officer of the deck, 
to be in readiness to execute such orders as might be necessary for the 
safety of the ship. Many of those from below were seen hurrying 
up the hatches, and those on deck straining their eyes to discover the 
barrier in time to avoid accident. The ship still moving rapidly 
along, some faint hope remained that the bay might prove a deep 
one, and enable me to satisfy my sanguine hopes and belief relative 
to the land. 

The feeling is awful, and the uncertainty most trying thus to enter 
within the icy barrier blindfolded as it were by an impenetrable fog, 
and the thought constantly recurring that both ship and crew were 
in imminent danger ; yet I was satisfied that nothing could be gained 
but by pursuing this course. On we kept, until it was reported to me, 
by attentive listeners, that they heard the low and distant rustling of 
the ice : suddenly a dozen voices proclaimed the barrier to be in sight, 
just ahead. The ship, which a moment before seemed as if un- 
peopled, from the stillness of all on board, was instantly alive with the 
bustle of performing the evolutions necessary to bring her to the 
wind, which was unfavourable to a return on the same track by 
which we had entered. After a quarter of an hour, the ice was 
again made ahead, and the full danger of our situation was realized. 


The ship was certainly embayed, and although the extent of sea- 
room to which we were limited, was rendered invisible by the dark 
and murky weather, yet, that we were closely circumscribed was 
evident from having made the ice so soon on either tack, and from 
the audible rustling around us. It required several hours to extricate 
the ship from this bay. 

Few are able to estimate the feelings that such an occasion causes 
to a commander, who has the responsibility of the safety of ship and 
crew operating as a heavy weight upon his heart, and producing a 
feeling as if on the verge of some overwhelming calamity. All tends 
to satisfy him that nothing could guide him in safety through, or 
shield from destruction those who have been entrusted to his charge, 
but the hand of an all-wise Providence. 

17th. In the morning we discovered a ship, apparently within a mile 
of us, to which we made signal and fired a gun, but she was shortly 
after lost sight of. We also saw the brig to the eastward, close to the 
barrier of ice. In the afternoon we spoke the Peacock : she had not 
seen us in the morning ; and I should be disposed to believe that the 
cause of her image appearing so close to us in the morning was 
produced by refraction above a low fog-bank ; but the usual accom- 
paniment of such phenomena (a difference of temperature below and 
aloft) did not exist. 

I now desired Captain Hudson to make the best use of his time in 
exploring, as to attempt to keep company would only impede our 
progress, and, without adding to our safety, might prevent the 
opportunity of examining the barrier for an opening. I was also 
satisfied that the separation would be a strong incentive to exertion, 
by exciting rivalry among the officers and crews of the different 
vessels. This day at noon we were in latitude 66° 20' S., longitude 
156° 02' E. Many petrels, albatrosses, a few whales, and a seal, were 
seen from the ship ; and the water was quite green. 

18th. The weather this day was variable, with light westerly 
winds ; the temperature of air and water 32°. Occasional squalls of 
snow and mist occurred, but it was at times clear. The water was 
still olive-green ; and the other vessels occasionally in sight beating 
to windward. 

On the morning of the 19th, we found ourselves in a deep bay, and 
discovered the Peacock standing to the southwest. Until eight o'clock, 
a. m., we had a moderate breeze. The water was of a darker olive- 
green, and had a muddy appearance. Land was now certainly visible 


from the Vincennes, both to the south -southeast and southwest, in the 
former direction most distinctly. Both appeared high. It was between 
eight and nine in the morning when I was fully satisfied that it was 
certainly land, and my own opinion was confirmed by that of some of 
the oldest and most experienced seamen on board. The officer of the 
morning watch, Lieutenant Alden, sent twice, and called my atten- 
tion to it. We were at this time in longitude 154° 30' E., latitude 66° 
20' S. ; the day was fine, and at times quite clear, with light winds. 
After divine service, I still saw the outline of the land, unchanged 
in form, but not so distinct as in the morning. By noon, I found we 
were sagging on to the barrier ; the boats were lowered in conse- 
quence, and the ship towed off. The report from aloft, was, " A 
continued barrier of ice around the bay, and no opening to be seen, 
having the western point of it bearing to the northward of west of 
us." I stood to the westward to pass around it, fully assured that 
the Peacock would explore all the outline of the bay. 

The Peacock, at 3 h 30 m , according to Captain Hudson's journal, 
having got into the drift-ice, with a barrier still ahead to the west, 
tacked to the southeast to work up for an immense mass, which 
had every appearance of land, and which was believed to be such by 
all on board. It was seen far beyond and towering above an ice- 
island that was from one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet in 
height. It bore from them about southwest,* and had the appear- 
ance of being three thousand feet in height, forming a sort of 
amphitheatre, looking gray and dark, and divided into two distinct 
ridges or elevations throughout its entire extent, the whole being 
covered with snow. As there was no probability of getting nearer to 
it in this quarter, they stood out of the bay, which was about twenty 
miles deep, to proceed to the westward, hoping to get an opportunity 
to approach the object more closely on the other side. 

We had a beautiful and unusual sight presented to us this night : 
the sun and moon both appeared above the horizon at the same time, 
and each throwing its light abroad. The latter was nearly full. 
The former illuminated the icebergs and distant continent with his 
deep golden rays ; while the latter, in the opposite horizon, tinged with 
silvery light the clouds in its immediate neighbourhood. There now 
being no doubt in any mind of the discovery of land, it gave an 
exciting interest to the cruise, that appeared to set aside all thought 

* Sketches of this land will be seen in the Atlas on the Chart of Antarctic Continent. 
vol. ii. 79 


of fatigue, and to make every one willing to encounter any difficulty 
to effect a landing. 

20th. This day, on board the Peacock, they witnessed a sea-fight 
between a whale and one of its many enemies. The sea was quite 
smooth, and offered the best possible view of the whole combat. 
First, at a distance from the ship, a whale was seen flotmdering in a 
most extraordinary way, lashing the smooth sea into a perfect foam, 
and endeavouring apparently to extricate himself from some annoy- 
ance. As he approached the ship, the struggle continuing and be- 
coming more violent, it was perceived that a fish, apparently about 
twenty feet long, held him by the jaw, his contortions, spouting, and 
throes, all betokening the agony of the huge monster. The whale 
now threw himself at full length from the water with open mouth, 
his pursuer still hanging to the jaw, the blood issuing from the 
wound and dyeing the sea to a distance around ; but all his fiounder- 
ings were of no avail ; his pertinacious enemy still maintained his 
hold, and was evidently getting the advantage of him. Much alarm 
seemed to be felt by the many other whales around. These 
" killers," as they are called, are of a brownish colour on the back, 
and white on the belly, with a long dorsal fin. Such was the 
turbulence with which they passed, that a good view could not be 
had of them to make out more nearly the description. These fish 
attack a whale in the same way as dogs bait a bull, and worry him 
to death. They are armed with strong sharp teeth, and generally 
seize the whale by the lower jaw. It is said that the only part of 
them they eat is the tongue. The whalers give some marvellous 
accounts of these killers and of their immense strength, among them, 
that they have been known to drag a whale away from several boats 
which were towing it to the ship. 

There was a great quantity of animalculse in the water, and some 
large squids (Medusas), and quantities of shrimp were frequently seen 
about the icebergs ; these are no doubt the attractions which bring 
whales to frequent these seas. 

The last two days we had very many beautiful snow-white petrels 
about. The character of the ice had now become entirely changed. 
The tabular-formed icebergs prevailed, and there was comparatively 
little field-ice. Some of the bergs were of magnificent dimensions, 
one-third of a mile in length, and from one hundred and fifty to two 
hundred feet in height, with sides perfectly smooth, as though they 
had been chiselled. Others, again, exhibited lofty arches of many- 


coloured tints, leading into deep caverns, open to the swell of the sea, 
which, rushing in, produced loud and distant thunderings. The 
flight of birds passing in and out of these caverns, recalled the 
recollection of ruined abbeys, castles, and caves, while here and there 
a bold projecting bluff, crowned with pinnacles and turrets, resembled 
some Gothic keep. A little farther onwards would be seen a vast 
fissure, as if some powerful force had rent in twain these mighty 
masses. Every noise on board, even our own voices reverberated 
from the massive and pure white walls. These tabular bergs are 
like masses of beautiful alabaster : a verbal description of them can 
do little to convey the reality to the imagination of one who has not 
been among them. If an immense city of ruined alabaster palaces 
can be imagined, of every variety of shape and tint, and composed 
of huge piles of buildings grouped together, with long lanes or streets 
winding irregularly through them, some faint idea may be formed of 
the grandeur and beauty of the spectacle. The time and circum- 
stances under which we were viewing them, threading our way 
through these vast bergs, we knew not to what end, left an impression 
upon me of these icy and desolate regions that can never be forgotten. 

22d. It was now, during fine weather, one continued day ; but we 
had occasional snow-squalls that produced an obscurity that was tan- 
talizing. The bergs were so vast and inaccessible, that there was no 
possibility of landing upon them. 

The Peacock and Porpoise were in sight of each other this day. 
A large number of whales, albatrosses, petrels, penguins, &c, were 
seen around, and a flock of ducks was also reported as having been 
seen from the Vincennes, as well as several seals. The effect of 
sunrise, at a little after 2 a. m., on the 23d., was glorious. 

As the events which occurred on board the Peacock during the 
next few days are particularly interesting, I shall proceed to narrate 
them in detail, leaving the Vincennes and Porpoise to pursue their 
route along their dangerous and novel pathway, and would particu- 
larly refer the reader to the actual condition of the Peacock, a state- 
ment of which has been heretofore given, that it may be borne 
in mind that our vessels had no planking, extra fastening, or other 
preparations for these icy regions, beyond those of the vessels of war 
in our service. 

The Peacock stood into the bay which the Vincennes had found 
closed the day before, and saw the same appearance of high land in 
the distance. The water was much discoloured, and of a dark, dirty 


green. They hove-to, for the double purpose of getting a cast of the 
lead, and of lowering the boats to carry the instruments to a small 
iceberg, on which it was possible to land for the purpose of making 
mao-netic observations. A line of one thousand four hundred fathoms 


was prepared to sound, and to the lead was attached the cylinder 
with Six's thermometer ; the wind being fresh, several leads at 
different distances were attached to the line; they were not aware 
that the lead-line had touched bottom, until they began to haul in, 
when it was found that the lead bent on at five hundred fathoms was 
filled with blue and slate-coloured mud. Attached to the lead also 
was a piece of stone, and a fresh bruise on it, as though the lead had 
struck heavily on rock. The remainder of the line had evidently 
lain on the bottom, as the copper cylinder was covered with mud, and 
the water inside of it was quite muddy. They then beat up a short 
distance to windward, and again sounded, when, with the line 
hanging vertically, bottom was reached at three hundred and twenty 
fathoms ; the matter brought up was slate-coloured mud. The tem- 
perature of the water at the surface was 32°, and at the above depth 
27 J°, being a decrease of 4^°. 

The boats now returned, and on approaching the ship the per- 
sons in them were much startled by hearing the crew cheer ship in 
consequence of finding soundings. This was a natural burst of joy, 
on obtaining this unquestionable proof that what they saw was indeed 
the land ; a circumstance that, while it left no doubt, if any had 
existed, in the mind of any one on board the Peacock, that what they 
had previously seen was truly terra firma, furnished a proof that 
cannot be gainsaid, even by those disposed to dispute the evidence of 
sight, unsupported by so decisive a fact. Mr. Eld and Mr. Stuart, 
in the boats, succeeded in getting observations, and the mean dip by 
the needles was 86° 16'. 

Mr. Eld's boat succeeded in taking a king-penguin of enormous 
size, viz. : from tip of tail to the bill, forty-five inches ; across the flip- 
pers, thirty-seven inches ; and the circumference of the body, thirty- 
three inches. He was taken after a truly sailor-like fashion, by 
knocking him down. The bird remained quite unmoved on their 
approach, or rather showed a disposition to come forward to greet 
them. A blow with the boat-hook, however, stunned him, and before 
his recovery he was well secured. He showed, on coming to himself, 
much resentment at the treatment he had received, not only by fight- 
ing, but by an inordinate noise. He was in due time preserved as 


a specimen, and now graces the collection at Washington. In his 
craw were found thirty-two pebbles, from the size of a pea to that of 
a hazel-nut. 

Bergs and field-ice were in various directions around ; they had 
light baffling winds, clear and pleasant weather, with a smooth sea. 
The water was of a dark green colour. Standing into the bay for 
the purpose of approaching the land, they at 5 a. m. passed through 
drift-ice into an open space, and when they had again approached the 
field, hove-to for the purpose of sounding. Here bottom was found at 
the depth of eight hundred fathoms ; and the matter brought up was 
similar to that obtained the day before. The distance between the 
points where these two soundings were obtained, was but short. 

At 8 b 30 m a. M., while attempting to box off the ship from some ice 
under the bow, she made a stern-board, which brought the stern so 
forcibly in contact with another mass of ice, that it seemed from the 
shock, as if it were entirely stove in ; the rudder was so much canted 
from its position, as to carry away the starboard wheel-rope, and to 
wrench "the neck of the rudder itself in such a manner, as to render it 
unserviceable, or even worse than useless. In hopes of lessening the 
difficulty, relieving tackles were applied to the tiller, but without 
effect, for it was discovered that the rudder had been so far twisted as 
to make a considerable angle with the keel, and every exertion to 
move it proved ineffectual. 

All hands were now called, and every officer and man was speedily 
at his station. The ship was found to be rapidly entering the ice, 
and every effort to direct her course by the management of the 
sails proved fruitless. In this helpless condition scarcely a moment 
passed without a new shock in some quarter or other from the ice, 
and every blow threatened instant destruction. The hope was not 
yet abandoned, that some temporary expedient might be found to 
bring the rudder again into use, until they should be extricated from 
this perilous situation. A stage was, therefore, rigged over the stern, 
for the purpose of examining into its state, but it was found to be so 
much injured that it was impossible to remedy its defects while in 
its place, and preparations were forthwith made for unshipping it. 
In the mean time the position of the vessel was every instant growing 
worse, surrounded as she was by masses of floe-ice, and driving fur- 
ther and further into it, towards an immense wall-sided iceberg. All 
attempts to get the vessel on the other tack failed, in consequence of 
her being so closely encompassed, and it was therefore thought ex- 

vol. 11. 80 


pedient to attempt to bring her head round, by hanging her to an 
iceberg by the ice-anchors, and thus complete what had been par- 
tially effected by the sails. The anchor was attached, but just at the 
moment the hawser was passed on board, the ship took a start so 
suddenly astern, that the rope was literally dragged out of the men's 
hands before they could get a turn around the bits. 

The ship now drove stern foremost into the midst of the huge 
masses of ice, striking the rudder a second time. This blow gave it 
the finishing stroke, by nearly wringing off the head, breaking two of 
the pintles, and the upper and lower brace. 

The wind now began to freshen, and the floe-ice to set upon the 
ship ; the sails were furled, and spars rigged up and down the ship's 
side as fenders ; attempts were again made to plant the ice-anchors, 
for which purpose the boats were lowered ; but the confined space, 
and the force with which the pieces of ice ground against each other 
was so great, that the boats proved nearly as unmanageable as the 
ship. After much exertion, however, the ice-anchors were planted, 
and the hawser hauled taut. Here they for a time enjoyed com- 
parative security, as the vessel hung by the anchors, which were 
planted in a large floe ; the ice continued to close in rapidly upon 
them, grinding, crushing, and carrying away the fenders; and the 
wind, that had changed to seaward, rose with appearances that fore- 
boded bad weather. 

At 10 h 30'" this security was at an end ; for the anchors, in spite of 
the exertions of the officers and men who were near them, broke 
loose, and the ship was again at the mercy of huge floating masses. 
A rapid stern-board was the consequence ; and a contact with the ice- 
island, vast, perpendicular, and as high as the mastheads, appeared 

Every possible preparation was made to meet the expected shock. 
There was no noise or confusion, and the self-possession and admi- 
rable conduct of the commander inspired courage and confidence in 
all. Preparations were made to cock-bill the yards, and spars were 
got out. 

While these preparations were going forward, the imminence of 
the danger lessened for a while : the anchors again held, and there 
was a hope that they might bring the vessel up before she struck. 
This hope, however, endured but for a moment ; for the anchors, with 
the whole body of ice to which they were attached, came in, and the 
ship going astern, struck quartering upon a piece of ice which lay 


between her and the great ice-island. This afforded the last hope of 
preventing her from coming in contact with it ; and this hope failed 
also ; for, grinding along the ice, she went nearly stern foremost, and 
struck with her larboard quarter upon the ice-island, with a tremen- 
dous crash. 

The first effect of this blow was to carry away the spanker-boom, 
the larboard stern-davit, and to crush the stern-boat. The starboard 
stern-davit was the next to receive the shock, and as this is connected 
with the spar-deck bulwarks, the whole of them were started ; the 
knee, a rotten one, which bound the davit to the taffrail, was broken 
off, and with it all the stanchions to the plank-sheer, as far as the 

Severe as was this shock, it happened fortunately that it was 
followed by as great a rebound. This gave the vessel a cant to star- 
board, and by the timely aid of the jib and other sails, carried her 
clear of the ice-island, and forced her into a small opening. While 
doing this, and before the vessel had moved half her length, an 
impending mass of ice and snow fell in her wake. Had this fallen 
only a few seconds earlier, it must have crushed the vessel to atoms. 

It was also fortunate that the place where she struck the ice-island, 
was near its southern end, so that there was but a short distance to 
be passed before she was entirely clear of it. This gave more room 
for the drifting ice, and permitted the vessel to be worked by her 

The relief from this pressing danger, however gratifying, gave no 
assurance of ultimate safety ; the weather had an unusually stormy 
appearance; and the destruction of the vessel seemed almost in- 
evitable, with the loss of every life on board. They had the melan- 
choly alternative in prospect of being frozen to death one after the 
other, or perishing in a body by the dissolving of the iceberg on 
which they should take refuge, should the vessel sink. 

When the dinner hour arrived the vessel was again fast in the ice, 
and nothing could for a time be done : it was therefore piped as usual. 
This served to divert the minds of the men from the dangers around 

When the meal was over, the former manoeuvring was resorted to, 
the yards being kept swinging to and fro, in order to keep the ship's 
head in the required direction. She was labouring in the swell, with 
ice grinding and thumping against her on all sides ; every moment 
something either fore or aft was carried away — chains, bolts, bob- 


stays, bowsprit shrouds ; even the anchors were lifted, coming down 
with a surge that carried away the eyebolts and lashings, and left 
them to hang by the stoppers. The cut-water also was injured, and 
every timber seemed to groan. 

Similar dangers attended those in the boats. Passed Midshipman 
Eld was sent to plant the ice-anchors ; there was no room for the use 
of oars ; the grinding and grating of the ice as it rose and fell with 
the swell, rendered great precaution necessary to prevent the boat 
from being swamped or crushed ; and when it is stated that two 
hours of hard exertion were required to plant the ice-anchors, some 
idea of the difficulty attending this service will be had. But this was 
not all ; the difficulty of returning was equally great, and no possible 
way of effecting it seemed to suggest itself; the sides of the ice- 
bergs could not be ascended, and to approach the berg on the side 
next the ship was certain destruction to the boat and crew, for the 
ice and water were foaming like a caldron ; and to abandon the 
former was equally out of the question. At last a chance offered, 
(although almost a hopeless one,) by passing between two of these 
bergs, that appeared on the other side of a small clear space. The 
boat was upon a small piece of ice, from which, by great exertions, 
she was launched; a few pulls at the oars brought them to the 
passage ; the bergs were closing fast, and agitated by the swell ; no 
time, therefore, was to be lost ; the danger was already great, and in a 
few seconds it would be impossible to pass. They entered ; their 
oars caught, and they got but half-way through when the icebergs 
closed in upon them, and pressed the gunwales together, so as almost 
to crush the boat ; the water entered her, and she was near sinking ; 
when the berg stopped, retreated, and by another hard shove they 
went through, and were soon alongside the ship. 

Every exertion was now made to work the ship and avoid heavy 
thumps from the ice. The mode resorted to, to get the ship about, 
was a novel one, namely, by urging her lee bow against a piece of 
ice, which had the same effect as giving her a lee helm ; but this was 
found rather too expensive a mode of effecting the object, and on the 
pumps showing an increase of water, it was discontinued. The ice 
had been rapidly accumulating around the ship, contracting still 
more narrowly the space or area in which they were, and rendering 
their situation more hazardous. 

At 4 p. m., they clewed up the topsails, the ship being fast in the 
ice, with the wind directly in from the seaward. The ice-anchors 


were now again run out in hopes of relieving her from some of the 
strain ; a short time afterwards the ice clearing from the stern enabled 
them to unship the rudder, which was taken on board in two pieces : 
it was immediately placed on the quarter-deck, and all the carpenters 
employed on it. 

It soon began to snow violently, and no clear sea could be seen 
from the ship in any direction. It becoming dark, the chance was 
that they would have to take up their last abode there. About six 
o'clock the weather cleared a little, and the wind freshened ; they 
parted the hawser attached to the ice-anchor, and made sail again for 
the clear sea, which could now be seen from the masthead. Towards 
8 p. m., as if to blast the little hope that the continuance of clear 
weather inspired, the ship took a wrong cant, and was forced into a 
small opening leading farther into the ice to leeward, and towards the 
massive walls of the berg. Great exertions were made, and fortu- 
nately, by the aid of the ice-anchors and sails, they succeeded in 
getting her round, and her head again pointed towards the clear sea ; 
but they were shortly afterwards wedged in between two large masses 
of ice. At midnight the sea was observed to rise, although the wind 
had not increased, causing much motion among the ice; and the 
stormy appearance of the sky continued, and gave promise of a gale. 
The only hope left was to force the ship through, and every means 
were employed to effect this object. The ice they had now to 
contend with was of larger dimensions, and the increased sea ren- 
dered it doubly dangerous. Some of the shocks against it were so 
heavy as to excite fears that the ship's bows would be driven in, and 
on one occasion three of the chronometers were thrown out of their 
beds of sawdust upon their sides. They continued to make but little 
headway, and the grinding and thumping on the ship was most 
painful. The hope of extricating her lessened every moment; for 
the quantity of ice between them and the sea was increasing, and 
the ship evidently moved with it to leeward. Few situations could 
be more trying, but the emergency was met by Captain Hudson with 
a coolness, perseverance, and presence of mind which secured the 
admiration of all who were present, and inspired full confidence and 
a firm reliance in his ability to overcome every difficulty that lay 
within the power of human means. 

In the afternoon of the 25th, the sea continued to increase, and the 
ship frequently struck against the masses of ice, while every foot 
they forged ahead carried them seemingly into a more precarious 

VOL. II. 81 



situation. At about 3 p. m., they found that the gripe had been 
beaten off, and they were now bruising up the stem and grinding 
away the bows. There appeared no other course but to drive her 
out, which was deemed the only chance of saving the ship and crew. 
All the canvass that would draw was, therefore, set to force her 
through ; and the wind favotiring them, they had by four o'clock suc- 
ceeded in passing the thick and solid ice, and shortly afterwards 
found themselves in clear water, without a rudder, the gripe gone, 
and, as was afterwards found, the stem ground down to within an 
inch and a half of the wood ends. 

The annexed sketch of the bay will exhibit the situation of the 
ship more accurately; it is situated in latitude 65° 55' 20" S., longi- 
tude 151° 18' 45" E. 

"V 22 .ran .y 


The carpenters were still employed on the rudder, and had suc- 
ceeded in removing the broken pieces of the pintles from the second 
and third braces on the stern-post ; the upper and lower pintles were 
broken, leaving only two to hang the rudder by. The weather seemed 
now to favour them, and about ten o'clock they had finished the rudder, 
which had been repaired in the best possible manner. Great credit 


is due to Mr. Dibble, the carpenter, (who left his sick bed on the 
occasion,) for his exertions, attention, and perseverance. He and the 
carpenter's crew worked twenty-four hours without intermission. 
The ship was now hove-to, for it was apprehended that her rolling 
would render the task of shipping the rudder troublesome. By 
meridian they were again in a situation to make sail to extricate 
themselves from a bay some thirty miles in extent, which, with the 
exception of the small opening by which they had entered, was 
apparently closed by the barrier. 

Shortly afterwards, the wind becoming fair, they made all sail for 
the outlet. The weather proved fine, and the winds moderate. At 
midnight they found the only opening left, which was not more than 
a quarter of a mile wide ; they succeeded in passing through this, by 
2 a. m., in a snow-storm, and felt grateful to God for their providential 

Captain Hudson now came to the conclusion of returning north. 
"After," as he says, "thoroughly turning over in my own mind the 
state of the ship, — with the head of the rudder gone, hanging by two 
braces, and in such a state that we could hardly hope to make it 
answer its purposes again, in encountering the boisterous weather we 
should have to pass through before reaching the first port, — the ship 
considerably strained ; her starboard spar-deck bulwarks gone as far 
forward as the gangway ; the gripe off, and the stern mutilated ; — fully 
satisfied from this state of things that she was perfectly useless for 
cruising among icebergs, and the accompanying dangers, in thick 
foggy weather, to which, in these latitudes, we should be more or 
less subject, and where rapid evolutions were often necessary, in 
which the rudder must perform its part; and that the ship would 
require extensive repairs before being employed in surveying opera- 
tions; and feeling that the season was rapidly coming round when 
our services would be required in that duty, I held a council of the 
ward-room officers, and required their opinions as to making any 
further attempts to cruise in these latitudes. 

" There was but one opinion as to the necessity of the ship's 
returning north, with the exception of Mr. Emmons and Mr. Bald- 
win, who thought the rudder might stand, provided we did not get 
near the ice, or fall in with icebergs. This of course would be to 
effect little or nothing, and result only in a loss of time. I accord- 
ingly put the ship's head north, determined to proceed at once to 



Sydney, to effect the necessary repairs, so as to be ready at the 
earliest possible day to join the squadron." 

Such were the dangers and difficulties from which the Peacock, 
by the admirable conduct of her officers and crew, directed by the 
consummate seamanship of her commander, was enabled at this time 
to escape. There still, however, remained thousands of miles of a 
stormy ocean to be encountered, with a ship so crippled as to be 
hardly capable of working, and injured to such an extent in her hull 
as to be kept afloat with difficulty. The events of this perilous 
navigation must, however, be postponed, until I shall have given the 
narrative of the proceedings of the other vessels of the squadron, 
while tracing out the position of the icy barrier, and following along 
the newly discovered continent. 






In taking up the narrative of the disaster sustained by the Peacock, 
with which the preceding chapter closes, the Vincennes and Porpoise 
were left on the 22d of January. 

On that day the Vincennes passed the place through which the 
Peacock entered, as has been related, on the 23d, and found no 
opening. To judge from the manner in which the ice moved during 
the time the Peacock was enclosed in it, I am inclined to ascribe the 
alternate opening and closing of the passage into the bay, to a tide 
setting along this coast. In support of this opinion it is sufficient to 
state, that the strength of the winds experienced on board that vessel 
was at no time sufficient to account for the manner in which the ice 
w _ as found to move. 

About thirty miles to the westward of this point the Vincennes 
passed a remarkable collection of tabular icebergs, for whose existence 
I can account in no other manner than by supposing them to be 
attached to a rocky islet, which formed a nucleus, to which they 
adhered. It was quite obvious that they had not been formed in 
the place where they were seen, and must, therefore, have grounded, 
after being adrift. 

On the 23d January, after passing around this group of icebergs, 
the sea was found comparatively clear, and a large open space showed 
itself to the southward. Into this space the course of the Vincennes 
was immediately directed. While thus steering to the south, the 
appearance of land was observed on either hand, both to the eastward 
and westward. 

Pursuing this course, we by midnight reached the solid barrier, 


and all approach to the land on the east and west was entirely cut off 
by the close packing of the icebergs. I was, therefore, reluctantly 
compelled to return, not a little vexed that we were again foiled in 
our endeavour to reach the Antarctic continent. This was a deep 
indentation in the coast, about twenty-five miles wide ; we explored 
it to the depth of about fifteen miles, and did not reach its termina- 
tion. This bay I have called Disappointment Bay ; it is in latitude 
67° 04' 30" S., longitude 147° 30' E. The weather was remarkably 
fine, with a bracing air; the thermometer in the air 22°, in the 
water 31°. 

The next day, 24th, we stood out of the bay, and continued our 
course to the westward. About noon, to my surprise, I learnt that 
one of the officers, Lieutenant Underwood, had marked on the log- 
slate that there was an opening of clear water, subtending three points 
of the compass, at the bottom of Disappointment Bay. Though 
confident that this was not the fact, in order to put this matter at 
rest, I at once determined to return, although forty miles distant, 
and ordered the ship about, to refute the assertion by the officer's 
own testimony. This was most effectually done the next morning, 
25th, when the ship reached the identical spot, and all were fully con- 
vinced that no opening existed. The whole bay was enclosed by 
a firm barrier of ice from north-northwest to east-northeast. 

The weather proved delightful, with light airs from the southward, 
and I determined to take this opportunity to fill up the water-tanks 
with ice. The ship was hove-to, a hawser got in readiness, the boats 
lowered, and brought alongside of an iceberg well adapted to our 

The same opportunity was also taken to make the magnetic obser- 
vations on the ice, and to try the local attraction of the ship. 

Many birds were seen about the ship, of which we were fortunate 
in obtaining specimens. The day was remarkably clear, and the 
same appearance of land was seen that had been witnessed on the 
24th. We filled nineteen of our tanks with ice, after having allowed 
it to remain for some time on deck for the salt water to drain off in 
part, and it proved very potable. 

The view of the ship in this position will give an idea of her 

At about 5 p. m., we had completed our required store of ice, and 
cast off, making sail to the northward. 

In order that no further mistakes should take place as to the 




openings being passed, I issued an order, directing the officer of the 
deck on being relieved to go to the masthead, and report to me the 
exact situation of the ice; and this was continued during the re- 
mainder of our cruise among it. 

In threading our way through the many icebergs, it occurred to 
me that they might be considered as islands, and a rough survey 
made of them, by taking their bearings at certain periods, and making 
diagrams of their positions. This was accordingly done, and every 
few hours they were inserted on the chart which I was constructing 
in my progress. 

The following is one of the diagrams. 


This I found to be very useful, and it gave me confidence in pro- 
ceeding, for I had a tolerable chart to retreat by in case of need, at 
least for a few hours, during which time I had reason to believe that 
there was not much probability of the icebergs changing their relative 

The dip observed on the ice was 87° 30', and the variation 12° 46' 
easterly. The compasses were found to be very sluggish, having but 
little horizontal directive force. 

About half an hour after we cast off from the iceberg, a thick snow- 
storm came up, with the wind from the southeast. Although there 
were very many ice-islands around us, on our way out, I felt that I 
understood the ground well, having passed over it twice, and knowing 
I had a space of a few miles, only thinly sprinkled with icebergs, I 
hove-to with shortened sail. This was the first southeast wind we 
had had since being on this coast ; I had been disappointed in not 




finding it from that quarter before ; for I had been informed by those 
who had navigated in high southern latitudes, that southeast would be 
the prevailing wind, and would be attended with fine weather. Now, 
however, with a fair wind, I was unable to run, for the weather was 

At 6 a. M. on the 26th, we again made sail, and at 8 a. m. we dis- 
covered the Porpoise, to whom we made signals to come within hail. 
We found them all well, and compared chronometers. 

As it still blew fresh from the southeast, and the weather became a 
little more clear, we both bore away, running through much drift- 
ice, at the rate of nine knots an hour. We had the barrier in sight ; 
it was, however, too thick to see much ' beyond it. Sailing in this 
way I felt to be extremely hazardous, but our time was so short for 
the examination of this icy coast, that while the barrier was to be 
seen, I deemed it my duty to proceed. We fortunately, by good 
look-outs, and carefully conning the ship, were enabled to avoid any 
heavy thumps. 

On the 27th, we again had the wind from south-southwest. The 
floe-ice had become so thick, that we found it impossible to get 
through it in the direction I wished to go, and we were compelled to 
pass round it. The Porpoise was in sight until noon. The weather 
proved beautifully clear. A long range of tabular icebergs was in 
sight to the southward, indicating, as I have before observed, that the 
coast was near. I passed through these, losing sight of the Porpoise 
to the northwest about noon, when we were in longitude 142° 40' E., 
latitude 65° 54' 21" S., variation 5° 08' easterly. 

On the 28th, I found myself completely surrounded by the tabular 
icebergs, through which we continued to pass. Towards midnight 
the wind shifted to the southeast, and enabled me to haul more to the 
southward. At 9J a. m. we had another sight of the land ahead, and 
every prospect of nearing it with a fine breeze. The sight of the ice- 
bergs around us, all of large dimensions, was beautiful. The greatest 
number in sight at one time was noted, and found to be more than a 
hundred, varying from a quarter of a mile to three miles in length. We 
took the most open route, and by eleven o'clock had run upwards of 
forty miles through them. We had the land now in plain view, but 
the weather soon began to thicken and the breeze to freshen. At 
noon it was so thick that every thing was hidden, and no observation 
was obtained. The ship was hove-to, but shortly after again put 
under way, making several tacks to keep my position, which I felt 


was becoming a critical one, in case a gale should ensue. I therefore 
looked carefully over my chart, and was surprised at the vast number 
of icebergs that appeared on it. At 2 p. m. the barometer began to 
fall, and the weather to change for the worse. At 5 p. m. a gale was 
evidently coming on, so we took three reefs in the topsails. It ap- 
peared now that certain wreck would ensue, should we remain where 
we were ; and after much consideration, I made up my mind to 
retrace my way, and seek the open space forty miles distant, taking 
for a landmark a remarkable berg that had been the last entered on 
the chart, and which would be a guide to my course out. I therefore 
stood for its position. The weather was so thick, that it was neces- 
sary to run close to it, to be quite sure of recognising it, for on this 
seemed to depend our safety. About the estimated time we would 
take to pass over the distance, an iceberg was made (we were within 
one thousand feet of it) which, at first view, I felt confident was the 
one sought, but was not altogether satisfied afterwards. I therefore 
again consulted my chart, and became more doubtful of it. Just at 
that moment I was called on deck by an officer, who informed me 
that there were icebergs a short distance ahead ! Such proved to be 
the case ; our path was beset with them, and it was evident we could 
not regain our route. To return was worse, so having but little 
choice left, I determined to keep on. To encounter these icebergs 
so soon after seeing the other, was in some respects satisfactory, for it 
removed all doubts, and showed me that we were not near the track 
by which we entered. Nothing, therefore, was to be done but to 
keep a good look-out, and the ship under sufficient way to steer well ; 
my safest plan was to keep as near our former track as possible, 
believing it to be most free of these masses. 

At 8 p. m. it began to blow very hard, with a violent snow-storm, 
circumscribing our view, and rendering it impossible to see more 
than two ship's-lengths ahead. The cold was severe, and every 
spray that touched the ship was immediately converted into ice. At 
9 p. m., the barometer still falling and the gale increasing, we reduced 
sail to close-reefed fore and main-topsails, reefed foresail, and trysails, 
under which we passed numerous icebergs, some to windward, and 
some to leeward of us. At 10 h 30 ,n , we found ourselves thickly beset 
with them, and had many narrow escapes; the excitement became 
intense ; it required a constant change of helm to avoid those close 
aboard ; and we were compelled to press the ship with canvass in 
order to escape them, by keeping her to windward. We thus passed 


close along their weather sides, and distinctly heard the roar of the 
surf dashing against them. "We had, from time to time, glimpses of 
their obscure outline, appearing as though immediately above us. 
After many escapes, I found the ship so covered with ice, and the 
watch so powerless in managing her, that a little after midnight, on 
the 29th, I had all hands called. Scarcely had they been reported 
on deck, when it was made known to me that the gunner Mr. Wil- 
liamson had fallen, broken his ribs, and otherwise injured himself, on 
the icy deck. 

v::; ;ZX3TES All ::; SET ICZ-BEB^ 

The gale at this moment was awful : we found we were passing 
large masses of drift-ice, and ice-islands became more numerous. At 
a little after one o'clock it was terrific, and the sea was now so 
heavy, that I was obliged to reduce sail still further ; the fore and 
main-topsails were clewed up ; the former was furled, but the latter 
being a new sail, much difficulty was found in securing it. 

A seaman, by the name of Brooks, in endeavouring to execute the 
order to furl, got on the lee yardarm, and the sail having blown over the 
yard, prevented his return. Not being aware of his position until it 
was reported to me from the forecastle, he remained there some time. 
On my seeing him, he appeared stiff, and clinging to the yard and 
lift. Spil ling-lines were at once rove, and an officer with several 
men sent aloft to rescue him, which they succeeded in doing by 


passing a bowline around his body and dragging him into the top. 
He was almost frozen to death. Several of the best men were com- 
pletely exhausted with cold, fatigue, and excitement, and were sent 
below. This added to our anxieties, and but little hope remained to 
me of escaping : I felt that neither prudence nor foresight could avail 
in protecting the ship and crew. All that could be done, was to be 
prepared for any emergency, by keeping every one at his station. 

We were swiftly dashing on, for I felt it necessary to keep the ship 
under rapid way through the water, to enable her to steer and work 
quickly. Suddenly many voices cried out, " Ice ahead !" then, " On 
the weather bow !" and again, "On the lee bow and abeam !" All 
hope of escape seemed in a moment to vanish ; return w T e could not, as 
large ice-islands had just been passed to leeward : so we dashed on, 
expecting every moment the crash ; the ship in an instant, from having 
her lee guns under water, rose upright ; and so close were we passing 
to leeward of one of these huge islands, that our trysails were almost 
thrown aback by the eddy wind ; the helm was put up to pay the 
ship off, but the proximity of those under our lee bade me keep my 
course. All was now still except the distant roar of the wild storm, 
that was raging behind, before, and above us ; the sea was in great 
agitation, and both officers and men were in the highest degree 
excited. The ship continued her way, and as we proceeded, a glim- 
mering of hope arose, for we accidentally had hit upon a clear passage 
between two large ice-islands, which in fine weather we should not 
dare to have ventured through. The suspense endured while making 
our way between them was intense, but of short duration ; and my 
spirits rose as I heard the whistling of the gale grow louder and 
louder before us, as we emerged from the passage. We had escaped 
an awful death, and were again tempest-tost. 

We encountered many similar dangers that night ; at half-past 4, 
a. m., I found we had reached the small open space laid down on my 
chart, and at five o'clock I hove-to the ship. I had been under 
intense excitement, and had not been off the deck for nine hours, and 
was now thankful to the Providence that had guided, watched over, 
and preserved us. Until 7 a. m., all hands were on deck : when there 
was some appearance of the weather moderating, they were piped 

The barometer was marked at intervals, for which the reader is 
referred to Appendix XXVI. 

This gale was from the southeast, from which quarter it blew 

vol. 11. 84 


during the whole of its strength ; and when it began to moderate, the 
wind veered to the southward ; by noon we felt satisfied that the gale 
was over, and that we had escaped, although it was difficult to realize 
a sense of security when the perils we had just passed through were 
so fresh in our minds, and others still impending. Towards four 
o'clock, it cleared off, and we saw but few icebergs near us. Our 
longitude was found to be 140° E., latitude 63° 30' S., and I again 
made sail for the ice to the south, to pass over the very route we 
had just traversed through so many perils. 

The wind had now hauled to the southwest; at 6 v. M., we again 
began to enter among ice-islands. The weather appeared settled ; 
but I had so often been deceived by its fickleness, that I felt no 
reliance ought to be put in its continuance. A powerful inducement 
was held out to us, in the prospect of getting close enough to effect a 
landing ; and this rendered us insensible to the dangers. 

On the morning of the 30th the sun rose in great brilliancy, and 
the scene could hardly be realized as the same as that we had passed 
through only twenty-four hours before. All was now quiet ; a brisk 
breeze blew from the eastward, all sail was set, and there was every 
prospect that we might accomplish our object ; for the land was in 
sight, and the icebergs seemed floating in quiet. We wound our 
way through them in a sea so smooth that a yawl might have passed 
over it in safety. No straight line could have been drawn from us in 
any direction, that would not have cut a dozen icebergs in the same 
number of miles, and the wondering exclamations of the officers and 
crew were oft repeated, — " How could we have passed through them 
unharmed?" and, "What a lucky ship!" At eight o'clock, we 
had reached the icy barrier, and hove-to close to it. It was tanta- 
lizing, with the land in sight, to be again and again blocked out- 
Open water was seen near the land to the southwest of us, and a 
tortuous channel through the broken ice to leeward, apparently lead- 
ing to it. All sail was immediately crowded; we passed rapidly 
through, and found ourselves again in clear water, which reached to 
the shores : the barrier extending in a line with our course, about 
two miles to windward, and a clear channel to the northwest, about 
two miles wide, as far as the eye could reach. Seeing this, I 
remarked to one of the officers that it would have been a good place 
to drift in during the last gale, — little thinking that in a few short 
hours it would serve us for that purpose, in still greater need. A 
brisk gale ensued, and the ship ran at the rate of nine or ten miles an 


hour ; one reef was taken in the topsails, and we stood directly in for 
the most southerly part of the bay. 

This bay was formed partly by rocks and partly by ice-islands. 
The latter were aground, and on the western side of the bay ex- 
tended about five miles to the northward of our position. 

While we stood on in this direction the gale increased, and our 
room became so circumscribed that we had not time on any one tack 
to reduce our canvass, before it became necessary to go about. In 
this way we approached within half a mile of the dark, volcanic 
rocks, which appeared on both sides of us, and saw the land gra- 
dually rising beyond the ice to the height of three thousand feet, and 
entirely covered with snow. It could be distinctly seen extending to 
the east and west of our position fully sixty miles. I make this bay 
in longitude 140° 02' 30" E., latitude 66° 45' S. ; and, now that all 
were convinced of its existence, I gave the land the name of the 
Antarctic Continent. Some of the officers pointed out the appear- 
ance of smoke, as if from a volcano, but I was of opinion that this was 
nothing but the snow-drift, caused by the heavy squalls. There was 
too much wind at this time to tack ; I therefore had recourse to luffing 
the vessel up in the wind, and wore her short round on her heel. At 
the same time we sounded, and found a hard bottom at the depth of 
no more than thirty fathoms. I made a rough sketch of this bay, 
which I have called Piner's Bay, after the signal quarter-master of 
that name. It was impossible to lower a boat, or to remain longer ; 
indeed, I felt it imperative on me to clear its confined space before 
the floating ice might close it up. 

At 10 h 30 m we had gone round, and in an hour more we cleared the 
bay. At noon the wind had increased to a gale, and by one o'clock, 
p. M., we were reduced to storm-sails, with our top-gallant yards on deck. 
The barometer had again declined rapidly, proving a true indicator, 
but giving little or no warning. To run the gauntlet again among 
the icebergs was out of the question, for a large quantity of field-ice 
would have to be passed through, which must have done us consi- 
derable damage, if it did not entirely disable us. The clear space we 
occupied was retained until five or six o'clock, when I found the floe- 
ice was coming down upon us ; I then determined to lay the ship for 
a fair drift through the channel I had observed in the morning, and 
which I had every reason to believe, from the wind (southeast) blow- 
ing directly through it, would not be obstructed until the floe-ice 
came down. It was a consolation to know that if we were compelled 


to drift, we should do so faster than the ice ; I therefore thought it as 
well to avoid it as long as possible. Another reason determined me 
to delay the drifting to the latest moment: I did not believe that the 
extent of the channel we had seen in the morning was more than ten 
miles in extent, and at the rate we drifted, the end of it would be 
reached long before the gale was over. This, like the former gale, 
was an old-fashioned snow-storm. All the canvass we could show to 
it at one time was a close-reefed main-topsail and fore-storm-staysail. 
It blew tremendously, and the sea we experienced was a short dis- 
agreeable one, but nothing to be compared to that which accompanied 
the first gale. From the shortness of the sea, I inferred that we had 
some current. This state of things continued for several hours, 
during which we every moment expected to reach the end of our 
channel. Since the last gale, the whole crew, officers and men, had 
been put in watch and watch, ready for an instantaneous call, and 
prepared for rapid movements. The snow was of the same sleety or 
cutting character as that of the previous day, and seemed as if armed 
with sharp icicles or needles. 

The 31st brought no moderation of the weather. At 1 a. m., a 
group of ice-islands was reported, and shortly afterwards field-ice close 
under our lee. We wore ship instantly, and just avoided coming in 
contact with the latter ; sail was immediately made on the ship, and 
the scene of the former gale again gone through (which it is needless 
here to repeat), with this exception, that we were now passing to and 
fro among icebergs immediately to windward of the barrier, and each 
tack brought us nearer to it. Between 4 and 5 a. m., our space was 
becoming confined, and there was no abatement of the gale ; I there- 
fore, as it had cleared sufficiently to enable us to see a quarter of a 
mile, determined to bear up and run off north-northwest for a clear 
sea. In doing this we passed icebergs of all dimensions and heavy 
floe-ice. By 8 h 30™ we had run thirty miles, when, finding a more 
open sea, I judged we had partially cleared the ice. At noon the 
gale still continued. The lowest reading of the barometer during 
this gale was 28-59 in. 

After lasting thirty hours, the gale, at 6 p. M., began to moderate a 
little, when we again made sail to the southward. I now felt inclined 
to seek Piner's Bay again, in order to effect a landing. This would 
have been a great personal gratification ; but the bay was sixty miles 
distant, so that to revisit it would occupy time that was now precious ; 
and feeling satisfied that a great extent of land wholly unknown lay 


to the westward, I deemed it my duty to proceed to its discovery, not 
doubting that if my opinions of its existence were correct, a place 
equally feasible for landing would be found. Another subject also 
presented itself, which, for a time, caused me some anxiety, and 
which I confess was not only unexpected by me, but directly at 
variance with my own observations on the condition of my crew. As 
I feel compelled to give a complete detail of our proceedings, I must 
now revert, to this subject. 

The following report of the medical officers of the ship was made 
to me on the day of its date. 

U. S. Ship Vincennes, 

At Sea, January 31st, 1840. 


It becomes our duty, as medical officers of this ship, to report to 
you in writing the condition of the crew at the present time. 

The number upon the list this morning is fifteen : most of these 
cases are consequent upon the extreme hardships and exposure they 
have undergone during the last gales of wind, when the ship has 
been surrounded with ice. 

This number is not large, but it is necessary to state, that the gene- 
ral health of the crew, in our opinion, is decidedly affected, and that 
under ordinary circumstances the list would be very much increased, 
while the men under the present exigencies, actuated by a laudable 
desire to do their duty to the last, refrain from presenting themselves 
as applicants for the list. 

Under these circumstances, we feel ourselves obliged to report that, 
in our opinion, a few days more of such exposure as they have 
already undergone, would reduce the number of the crew by sickness 
to such an extent as to hazard the safety of the ship and the lives of 
all on board. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servants, 

(Signed) J. L. Fox, 

Assistant Surgeon. 

J. S. Whittle, 

Assistant Surgeon. 

To Charles Wilkes, Esq., 

Commanding Exploring Expedition. 

Although my own opinion, as I have stated, differed from that 

vol. 11. 85 


expressed in the report, I deemed it my duty to ask the opinion of 
the ward-room officers, and also, in order to procure additional medical 
advice, restored to duty Acting-Surgeon Gilchrist, who was under 
suspension. The opinion of the ward-room officers was asked in a 
written circular, of which the following is a copy. 

U. S. Ship Vincennes, 

At Sea, January 31st, 1840. 


The receipt of the enclosed report of Drs. Fox and Whittle, relative 
to the health and condition of the crew of this ship, at this time, 
renders it necessary for me to decide whether it is expedient to push 
farther south in exploration under the present circumstances. 

As you are acquainted with all the circumstances, it is unnecessary 
to repeat them, except to remark, that your opinion is requested before 
I decide upon the course to be pursued, in consequence of the strong 
bias self-interest might give me in the prosecution of our arduous 
duties. I wish the report returned to me, and for you to communicate 
your opinion in writing. 

I am, respectfully, &c, 

Charles Wilkes, 

Commanding Exploring Expedition. 
To the Ward-Room Officers, 

U. S. Ship Vincennes. 

The answers to this letter will be seen in Appendix XXVII. ; and it 
is sufficient here to say, that a majority concurred in opinion with the 
report of the medical officers. Notwithstanding these opinions, I was 
not satisfied that there was sufficient cause to change my original 
determination of passing along to the appointed rendezvous; and 
after full consideration of the matter, I came to the conclusion, at 
whatever hazard to ship and crew, that it was my duty to proceed, 
and not give up the cruise until the ship should be totally disabled, 
or it should be evident to all that it was impossible to persist any 
longer. In bringing myself to this decision, I believe that I viewed 
the case on all sides with fairness, and allowed my duty to my 
country, my care for those whom it had committed to my charge, 
and my responsibility to the world, each to have its due weight. 

The weather now moderated, and I ordered sail to be made. The 
2d of February found us about sixty miles to the westward of Piner's 


Bay, steering to the southward, and as usual among ice-islands, with 
the land in sight. The land had the same lofty appearance as before. 
We stood in until 3 p. m., when we were within two and a half miles 
of the icy cliffs by which the land was bounded on all sides. These 
were from one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet in height, quite 
perpendicular, and there was no appearance whatever of rocks ; all 
was covered with ice and snow. A short distance from us to the 
westward was a long range of icebergs aground, which, contrary to 
the usual appearance, looked much weather-beaten. We tried for 
soundings, but did not get any with one hundred and fifty fathoms, 
although the water was much discoloured. The badness of the deep- 
sea line was a great annoyance to us, for deeper soundings would 
probably have obtained bottom. No break in the icy barrier, where 
a foot could be set on the rocks, was observable from aloft. The land 
still trended to the westward as far as the eye could reach, and con- 
tinued to exhibit the same character as before. Our longitude now 
was 137° 02' E., latitude 66° 12' S. : we found the magnetic declina- 
tion westerly. 

This proved a fine day, so that we had an opportunity of airing 
the men's bedding, of ventilating the ship, and of getting rid of 
the ice, with which we were much encumbered. The thermometer 
varied from 33° to 36°. Our sick-list had increased the last few 
days to twenty ; many of the men were affected with boils, which 
rendered them comparatively useless ; and ulcers, which were caused 
by the least scratch, were exceedingly prevalent ; but their food was 
good, they had plenty of it, and their spirits were excellent. The 
high land was seen this afternoon, but the barrier along which we 
were passing prevented any nearer approach. This evening it was 
perceptible that the days were becoming shorter, which was a new 
sotirce of anxiety, for we were often surrounded by numerous ice- 
islands, which the darkness rendered more dangerous. 

Towards evening the weather became unsettled, and the 3d of 
February was ushered in by another gale, accompanied with snow. 
The barometer fell lower than heretofore, namely, to 28-460 in. ; the 
thermometer stood at 33°. Before the thick snow came on, we had 
taken the bearings of the ice-islands, and finding we had a few miles 
comparatively free from them, I determined to await the result of the 
storm, and made every thing snug to encounter it. The gale con- 
tinued throughout the day, and although it moderated after 5 p. m., 
we had some strong squalls, but nothing so violent as those we had 


already experienced. The ship, in consequence of the snow, became 
more damp and uncomfortable, and our sick-list was increased to 
thirty, who were rather overcome by want of rest and fatigue than 
affected by any disease. To remedy the dampness, a stove was 
placed on the gun-deck, and fires kept burning in the galleys on the 
berth-deck, more for the purpose of drying the men's clothes than for 
warmth. We had no observations this day, but the dead-reckoning 
gave the longitude 134° E., latitude 63° 49' S. 

The 4th and 5th the weather continued the same ; as the winds 
became lighter thick snow fell, and we were able to see only a short 
distance from the ship. We contrived by manoeuvring to retain our 
position. On this last day we got a tolerable observation, Avhich gave 
our longitude as 133° 42' E., and latitude 64° 06' S. 

The first part of the 6th the same thick weather continued, but 
towards 4 p. m., it began to clear, when we again made sail, until we 
saw and took the bearings of the barrier. We found ourselves 
situated opposite the part of it we had seen three days before. It 
still had the appearance of being attached to the land, and in one 
uninterrupted line. Wishing to examine it closely, I hove-to for 
broad daylight. Many whales, penguins, flocks of birds, and some 
seals, were reported. 

On the 7th we had much better weather, and continued all day 
running along the perpendicular icy barrier, about one hundred and 
fifty feet in height. Beyond it the outline of the high land could be 
well distinguished. At 6 p. m. we suddenly found the barrier 
trending to the southward, and the sea studded with icebergs. I now 
hauled off until daylight, in order to ascertain the trending of the 
land more exactly. I place this point, which I have named Cape 
Carr, after the first-lieutenant of the Vincennes, in longitude 
131° 40' E., and latitude 64° 49' S. 

On the 8th, at daylight, we again made sail to the southward, and 
found at 4 a. m. the field of ice had stopped our progress, and the 
weather was thick. Land was no longer seen to the south, a deep 
bay apparently making in. We continued our course to the west- 
ward along the barrier, until 8 p. m., when we were again brought to. 
At 7 p. M. we had strong indications of land ; the barrier was of the 
former perpendicular form, and later the outline of the Continent ap- 
peared distinct though distant. The night was dark and unpleasant. 
At noon our longitude was 127° 07' E., and latitude 65° 03' S. ; varia- 
tion 14° 30' westerly. 



On the 9th we had the finest day we had yet experienced on this 
coast ; the wind had veered from the east to southwest, and given us 
a clear, bracing, and wholesome atmosphere. The barrier exhibited 
the same appearance as yesterday. Our longitude was 125° 19' E., 
latitude 65° 08' S., variation 32° 45' westerly. The current was 
tried, but none found ; the pot was only visible at five fathoms ; the 
colour of the water a dirty green ; the dip sector gave 3' 15". I 
never saw a clearer horizon, or one better defined than we had to the 
northward. The icy barrier was really beautiful. At midnight we 
had a splendid display of the aurora australis, extending all around 
the northern horizon, from west-by-north to east-northeast. Before 
its appearance, a few clouds only were seen in the southeast, on 
which the setting sun cast a red tint, that barely rendered them 
visible. The horizon, with this exception, appeared clear and well 
defined. The spurs or brushes of light frequently reached the zenith, 
converging to a point near it. 

■ ■■ ■ ■ 

Although no clouds could be seen in the direction of the aurora, 
before or after its appearance, yet when it was first seen, there 
appeared clouds, of the form of massive cumuli, tinged with pale 
yellow, and behind them arose brilliant red, purple, orange, and 



yellow tints, streaming upwards in innumerable radiations, with all 
the shades that a combination of these colours could effect. In its 
most brilliant state it lasted about twenty minutes. The gold-leaf 
electrometer was tried, but without being affected : the instrument, 
however, was not very sensitive. Being somewhat surprised at the 
vast mass of cumuli which appeared during the continuance of the 
aurora, I watched after its disappearance till daylight, but could see 
only a few clouds : I am therefore inclined to impute the phenomenon 
to some deception caused by the light of the aurora. The apparent 
altitude of these clouds was 8°. 

On the 10th we were again favoured by the weather; it gave us a 
fine sunshine, and an opportunity of airing the ship and drying the 
clothes. All the sick were improving in health. 

Running close along the barrier, which continued of the same 
character, although more broken than yesterday, we saw an appear- 
ance of land, although indistinctly, to the southward. The water was 
of the same colour here as before, and the wind being from the south- 
southeast, we made some progress, and found ourselves in longitude 
122° 35' E., latitude 65° 27' S. : the variation had now increased to 
44° 30' westerly. No aurora was seen this night, although it was 
looked for anxiously. 

11th. The barometer had been stationary at 29-080 in. for the last 
three days; it now began to fall : the temperature of the air was 31°, 
of the water 32°. The fall of the barometer was soon followed by 
snow and thick weather. The trending of the barrier had been 
southwest-by-west, and a good deal of floe-ice had been met with, 
which we ran through. The sea was quite smooth, and many 
icebergs were enclosed in the barrier, which was very compact and 
composed of flat fields. At 10 p. m., I found it too dark to run, and 

During the 12th we had pleasant weather, and at 2 a. m. filled away. 
At 8 a. m., land was reported to the southwest. Keeping along the 
barrier and increasing our latitude, I again had hopes of getting near 
the land. We passed through great quantities of large floe-ice until 1 
p. m., when the solid barrier prevented our farther progress. Land was 
now distinctly seen, from eighteen to twenty miles distant, bearing from 
south-southeast to southwest, — a lofty mountain range, covered with 
snow, though showing many ridges and indentations. I laid the ship 
to for three hours, in hopes of discovering some opening or movement 
in the ice, but none was experienced. I tried the current, and found 


none. The water was of a dirty dark green. We sounded with the 
wire-line in two hundred and fifty fathoms, and found no bottom. 
The temperature at that depth was 30J°, of the air 31°. The barrier 
had in places the appearance of being broken up, and we had de- 
creased our longitude to 112° 16' 12" E., while our latitude was 64° 57'. 
This puts the land in about 65° 20' S., and its trending nearly east and 
west. The line of the icy barrier was generally uniform, although it 
was occasionally pierced with deep bays. We saw some icebergs 
with decided spots of earth on them, which gave me hopes of yet 
obtaining the object of my wishes. The water was remarkably 
smooth during this day, and the weather clear, enabling us to see a 
great distance. Two hours after we bore away, we left the floe-ice, 
and entered a clear sea to the westward, where we lost sight of the 
barrier for a time ; but in hauling up to the southwest, it was, by 
8 p. m., within three miles of us, when we again kept off parallel to its 
trending. The appearance of land still continued. Shortly after, I 
hove-to, for the purpose of awaiting the daylight to continue our 
observations of the land, with little prospect or probability of reach- 
ing it, from the immense quantity of ice which continued to form an 
impenetrable barrier. 

13th. At 2 a. m. we made sail to the southwest, in order to close 
with the barrier, which we found retreated in that direction, and gave 
us every prospect of getting nearer to it. Our course, for the most 
part, was through icebergs of tabular form. In the afternoon we had 
the land ahead, and stood in for it with a light breeze until 6J p. m., 
when I judged it to be ten or twelve miles distant. It was very 
distinct, and extended from west-southwest to south-southeast. We 
were now in longitude 106° 40' E., and latitude 65° 57' S. ; the 
variation was 54° 30' westerly. The water was very green. We 
sounded in three hundred fathoms, and found no bottom. The 
weather having an unsettled appearance, we stood off to seek a 
clearer space for the night. The land left was high, rounded, and 
covered with snow, resembling that first discovered, and had the 
appearance of being bound by perpendicular icy cliffs. 

14th. At daylight we again made sail for the land, beating in for 
it until 11a. m., when we found any further progress quite impossible. 
I then judged that it was seven or eight miles distant. The day was 
remarkably clear, and the land very distinct. By measurement, we 
made the extent of coast of the Antarctic Continent, which was then 
in sight, seventy-five miles, and by approximate measurement, three 


thousand feet high. It was entirely covered with snow. Longitude 
at noon, 106° 18' 42" E., latitude 65° 59' 40" S., variation 57° 05' 
westerly. On running in, we had passed several icebergs greatly 
discoloured with earth, and finding we could not approach the 
shore any nearer, I determined to land on the largest ice-island that 
seemed accessible, to make dip, intensity, and variation observations. 
On coming up with it, about one and a half miles from where the 
barrier had stopped us, I hove the ship to, lowered the boats, and 
fortunately effected a landing. We found embedded in it, in places, 
boulders, stones, gravel, sand, and mud or clay. The larger speci- 
mens were of red sandstone and basalt. No signs of stratification 
were to be seen in it, but it was in places formed of icy conglomerate 
(if I may use the expression), composed of large pieces of rocks, as 
it were frozen together, and the ice was extremely hard and flint-like. 
The largest boulder embedded in it was about five or six feet in 
diameter, but being situated under the shelf of the iceberg, we were 
not able to get at it. Many specimens were obtained, and it was 
amusing to see the eagerness and desire of all hands to possess them- 
selves of a piece of the Antarctic Continent. These pieces were in 
great demand during the remainder of the cruise. In the centre of 
this iceberg was found a pond of most delicious water, over which 
was a scum of ice about ten inches thick. We obtained from it 
about five hundred gallons. We remained upon this iceberg several 
hours, and the men amused themselves to their heart's content in 
sliding. The pond was three feet deep, extending over an area of an 
acre, and contained sufficient water for half-a-dozen ships. The 
temperature of the water was 31°. This island had been undoubtedly 
turned partly over, and had precisely the same appearance that the 
icy barrier would have exhibited if it had been turned bottom up and 
subsequently much worn by storms. There was no doubt that it had 
been detached from the land, which was about eight miles distant. 
The view of the land, ice, &c, taken from this ice-island, is exhibited 
in the opposite plate, and gives a correct representation of these 
desolate regions. 

Around the iceberg we found many species of zoophytes, viz. : 
salpee, a beautiful specimen of clio helicina, some large pelagie, and 
many small Crustacea. I made several drawings of them. This day, 
notwithstanding our disappointment in being still repelled from 
treading on the new continent, was spent with much gratification, 
and gave us many new specimens from it. 

/ %> 'fk 


Finding that we had reached the longitude of 105° E. before the 
time anticipated, and being desirous to pursue the discoveries further 
west, I left a signal flying on this berg, with a bottle containing 
instructions for the other vessels, directing them to proceed to the 
westward as far as they could, in the time which should remain prior 
to the 1st of March. At 8 p. M. we joined the ship, and bore away 
again to the westward, intending to pursue the route pointed out to 

On the 15th, we passed rmany icebergs much discoloured with 
earth, stones, &c, none of which appeared of recent formation. The 
weather this day became lowering, and the breeze fresh ; we double- 
reefed the topsails, and made every thing snug ; the wind was from 
the southward. At noon this day, we were in longitude 104° E., 
latitude 64° 06' S. The sea had been remarkably smooth the last 
few days, with no swell ; and I began to entertain the idea that we 
might have a large body of ice to the northward of us, for the position 
where Cook found the barrier in 1773 was two hundred miles further 
to the north. I determined, however, to pass on in our explorations, 
hoping they might enable me to join that of Enderby's Land. I 
deemed it a great object actually to prove the continuity with it if 
possible : and if disappointed in this, I should at any rate ascertain 
whether there had been any change in the ice in this quarter, since 
the time of Cook, which had been done already near bis Ne Plus 

We had a vast number of whales about us this day, as well as 
penguins, Cape pigeons, white and gray, and small and large petrels. 
Some seals also were seen. 

I was now happy to find the health of my crew had become re- 
established, and that only a few remained on the sick-list. This 
I think, was effected by constant attention to their being warmly 

The icebergs were covered with penguins ; several officers landed 
on the icebergs to get a few as specimens. On their return, some 
penguins followed them closely, particularly one, who at last leaped 
into the boat. It was supposed that its mate had been among those 
taken, and that it had followed on that account. If this were the 
fact, it would show a remarkable instinctive affection in this bird. 

On the 16th, the barrier of ice trended to the northward, and we 
were obliged to haul to the northeast, passing through a large number 
of ice-islands, many of which were stained with earth. In the after- 
vol. ii. 87 


noon a large sea-elephant was discovered on the ice ; two boats were 
sent to effect his capture, and many balls were fired into him, but he 
showed the utmost indifference to their effect, doing no more than to 
raise his head at each shot. He contrived to escape by floundering 
over the ice until he reached the water, in which he was quite a 
different being. At about 7 p. M., Dr. Fox was despatched in a boat 
to visit an ice-island that was very much discoloured with clay in 
patches. He reported that there was upon it a large pond of muddy 
water, not frozen, although the temperature on board was much below 
the freezing point. We observed around the icebergs numerous right 
whales, puffing in all directions. A large quantity of small Crustacea, 
including shrimps, were here seen around the icebergs. These are 
believed to be the cause that attracts whales to these parts; they also 
supply the numerous penguins with their food. For several days I 
observed a great difference in the wind, by day and by night. It 
had been fresh from the hour of seven in the morning until 8 
p. m., when it generally becomes light or dies away altogether. To- 
day we found ourselves in longitude 99° E., and latitude 64° 21' S. 
We to-day made observations throughout the twenty-four hours with 
Leslie's photometer. These results will be found embraced in the 
volume of Meteorology. 

On the 17th, about 10 a. m., we discovered the barrier extending 
in a line ahead, and running north and south as far as the eye could 
reach. Appearances of land were also seen to the southwest, and its 
trending seemed to be to the northward. We were thus cut off from 
any further progress to the westward, and obliged to retrace our steps. 
This position of the ice disappointed me, although it concurred with 
what was reasonably to be expected. We were now in longitude 97° 
37' E., and latitude 64° 01' S. ; our variation was 56° 21' westerly, 
being again on the decrease. To-day we had several snow-squalls, 
which, instead of being in flakes, was in small grains, as round as 
shot, and of various sizes, from that of mustard-seed to buckshot. It 
was remarkably dry, pure white, and not at all like hail. We found 
the bay we had entered was fifty or sixty miles in depth, and having 
run in on its southern side, 1 determined to return along its northern 
shore, which we set about with much anxiety, as the weather began 
to change for the worse. Our situation was by no means such as I 
should have chosen to encounter bad weather in, the bay being 
sprinkled with a great many large icebergs. Here we met with a 
large number of whales, whose curiosity seemed awakened by our 


presence. Their proximity, however, was any thing hut pleasant to 
tis, and their blowings resembled that of a number of locomotives. 
Their close approach was a convincing proof that they had never been 
exposed to the pursuit of their skilful hunters. They were of the fin- 
back species, and of extraordinary size. 

Between ten and eleven o'clock at night it was entirely clear 
over head, and we were gratified with a splendid exhibition of the 
aurora australis. It exceeded any thing of the kind I had heretofore 
witnessed ; its activity was inconceivable, darting from the zenith to 
the horizon in all directions in the most brilliant coruscations ; rays 
proceeding as if from a point in the zenith, flashed in brilliant 
pencillings of light, like sparks of electric fluid in vacuo, and reappear 
again to vanish ; forming themselves into one body, like an umbrella, 
or fan, shut up ; again emerging to flit across the sky with the 
rapidity of light, they showed all the prismatic colours at once or 
in quick succession. So remarkable were the phenomena that even 
our sailors were constantly exclaiming in admiration of its brilliancy. 
The best position in which to view it was by lying flat upon the 
deck, and looking up. The electrometer was tried, but no effect per- 
ceived. The star Canopus was in the zenith at the time, and though 
visible through the aurora, was much diminished in brightness. On 
this night also the moon was partially eclipsed. 

Large icebergs had now become very numerous, and strengthened 
the belief that the land existing in this vicinity had taken a very 
decided trend to the northward. I accordingly followed up the 
northern barrier closely, and passed through the thickest of these 
bergs, well knowing from our experience that we should have little or 
no opportunity of seeing the land, unless on the inner side of them. 
It appeared as though they had collected here from other places, and 
it is impossible to form an idea of the small space to which we were 
at times confined. Upwards of one hundred ice-islands could be 
counted at a time without the aid of a glass, some of which were 
several miles long. We enjoyed this beautiful sight with the more 
pleasure, for we had become used to them, and knew from experience 
that it was possible to navigate through them without accident. 

On the 18th, we continued beating to the eastward, and found no 
end to the apparently interminable barrier. We had a smooth sea, 
and better weather than I anticipated. At noon, we had retraced our 
way about forty miles. To-day we again had snow, which fell in 
the form of regular six-pointed stars. The needles of which these 


stars were formed were quite distinct, and of regular crystals. The 
temperature at the time was 28°. The barometer stood at 28-76 in., 
about three-tenths lower than we had had it for the last twelve days. 
The wind was easterly. 

19th. During this day the barrier trended more to the northeast, 
and we not unfrequently entered bays so deep as to find ourselves, on 
reaching the extremity, cut off by the barrier, and compelled to 
return to within a few miles of the place where we had entered. I 
thought at first that this might have been caused by the tide or 
current, but repeated trials showed none. Neither did I detect any 
motion in the floating ice except what was caused by the wind. Our 
longitude to-day was 101° E., latitude 63° 02' S. Some anxiety 
seemed to exist among the officers and crew lest we should find 
ourselves embayed or cut off from the clear sea, by a line of barrier. 
There appeared strong reason for this apprehension, as the smooth sea 
we had had for several days still continued, we had been sailing as if 
upon a river, and the water had not assumed its blue colour. 

It was, therefore, with great pleasure that, on the 20th, a slight 
swell was perceived, and the barrier began to trend more to the north- 
ward, and afterwards again to the westward. In the morning we found 
ourselves still surrounded by great numbers of ice-islands. After 
obtaining a tolerably clear space, the day being rather favourable, we 
sounded with the deep-sea line eight hundred and fifty fathoms; 
Six's thermometer gave at the surface 31°, and at the depth of eight 
hundred and fifty fathoms 35°, an increase of four degrees. The 
current was again tried, but none was found. A white object was 
visible at eleven fathoms. The water had now assumed a bluish cast. 

We endeavoured to-day to land on an iceberg, but there was too 
much sea. Shrimps were in great quantities about it, but swam too 
deep to be taken. The wind again hauled to the westward, which 
disappointed me, as I was in hopes of getting to the position where 
Cook saw the ice in 1773, being now nearly in the same latitude. It 
was less than one hundred miles to the westward of us ; and little 
doubt can exist that its situation has not materially changed in sixty- 
seven years. 

The observations of the squadron during this season's Antarctic 
cruise, together with those of the preceding year, would seem to 
confirm the opinion that very little change takes place in the line 
of ice. It may be inferred that the line of perpetual congelation 
exists in a lower latitude in some parts of the southern hemisphere 


than iii others. The icy barrier retreats several degrees to the south 
of the Antarctic Circle to the west of Cape Horn, while to the east- 
ward it in places advances to the northward of that line, which is no" 
doubt owing to the situation of the land. From the great quantities 
of ice to be found drifting in all parts of the ocean in high southern 
latitudes, I am induced to believe that the formation of the ice-islands 
is much more rapid than is generally supposed. The manner of their 
formation claimed much of my attention while among them, and I 
think it may be explained satisfactorily and without difficulty. In 
the first place, I conceive that ice requires a nucleus, whereon the 
fogs, snow, and rain, may congeal and accumulate; this the land 
affords. Accident then separates part of this mass of ice from the 
land, when it drifts off, and is broken into many pieces, and part of 
this may again join that which is in process of formation. The sketch 
in Chapter IX. has already given the reader some idea of its appear- 
ance in this state. 

From the accumulation of snow, such a mass speedily assumes a 
flat or table-topped shape, and continues to increase. As these layers 
accumulate, the field-ice begins to sink, each storm (there of frequent 
occurrence) tending to give it more weight. The part which is now 
attached to the land remains aground, whilst that which is more 
remote being in deep water is free to sink. The accumulated weight 
on its outer edge produces fissures or fractures at the point where it 
takes the ground, which the frosts increase ; thus separated, the surface 
again becomes horizontal, and continues to receive new layers from 
snow, rain, and even fogs, being still retained to the parent mass by 
the force of attraction. The fogs have no small influence in con- 
tributing to the accumulation : some idea may be formed of the 
increase from this cause, from the fact that during a few hours the ice 
accumulated to the thickness of a quarter of an inch on our rigging 
and spars, though neither rain nor snow fell. It may, therefore, I 
think, be safely asserted that these icebergs are at all times on the 
increase ; for there are few days, according to our experience in this 
climate, in which some mode of precipitation does not prevail in these 
high latitudes, where, according to our observations, ice seldom melts. 
The temperature of even the summer months being rarely above the 
freezing point, masses of a thousand feet in thickness might require 
but few years to form. Icebergs were seen in all stages of formation, 
from five to two hundred feet above the surface, and each exposed its 
stratification in horizontal layers from six inches to four feet in thick- 

vol. 11. 88 



ness. When the icebergs are fully formed, they have a tabular and 
stratified appearance, and are perfectly wall-sided, varying from one 
hundred and eighty to two hundred and ten feet in height. These 
were frequently found by us in their original situation, attached to 
the land, and having the horizontal stratification distinctly visible. 


In some places we sailed for more than fifty miles together, along a 
straight and perpendicular wall, from one hundred and fifty to two 
hundred feet in height, with the land behind it. The icebergs found 
along the coast afloat were from a quarter of a mile to five miles in 
length ; their separation from the land may be effected by severe frost 
rending them asunder, after which the violent and frequent storms 
may be considered a sufficient cause to overcome the attraction which 
holds them to the parent mass. In their next stage they exhibit the 
process of decay, being found fifty or sixty miles from the land, and 
for the most part with their surfaces inclined at a considerable angle 
to the horizon. This is caused by a change in the position of the 
centre of gravity, arising from the abrading action of the waves. 


By our observations on the temperature of the sea, it is evident 
that these ice-islands can be little changed by the melting process 
before they reach the latitude of 60°. The temperature of the sea 
(as observed by the vessels going to and returning from the south), 


showed but little change above this latitude, and no doubt it was at 
its maximum, as it was then the height of the summer season. 

During their drift to the northward, reaching lower latitudes, and 
as their distance from the land increases, they are found in all stages 
of decay ; some forming obelisks ; others towers and Gothic arches ; 
and all more or less perforated ; some exhibit lofty columns, with a 
natural bridge resting on them of a lightness and beauty incon- 
ceivable in any other material. The annexed wood-cut and the tail- 
pieces of the chapters are sketches of some of them. 


Vl will, TL—JfiiTZJ^T v 


While in this state they rarely exhibit any signs of stratification, 
and some appear to be formed of a soft and porous ice ; others are 
quite blue ; others again show a green tint, and are of hard flinty ice. 
Large ice-islands are seen that retain their tabular tops nearly entire 
until they reach a low latitude, when their dissolution rapidly ensues ; 
whilst some have lost all resemblance to their original formation, and 
had evidently been overturned. The process of actually rending 
asunder was not witnessed by any of the vessels, although in the 
Flying-Fish, when during fogs they were in close proximity to large 
ice-islands, they inferred from the loud crashing, and the sudden 
splashing of the sea on her, that such occurrences had taken place. 
As the bergs gradually become worn by the abrasion of the sea, they 
in many cases form large overhanging shelves, about two or three 
feet above the water, extending out ten or twelve feet ; the under part 
of this projecting mass exhibits the appearance of a collection of 
icicles hanging from it. The temperature of the water when among 
the icebergs, was found below or about the freezing point. 

I have before spoken of the boulders embedded in the icebergs. 
All those that I had an opportunity of observing apparently formed a 
part of the nucleus, and were surrounded by extremely compact ice, 
so that they appear to be connected with that portion of the ice that 


would be the last to dissolve, and these boulders would therefore in 
all probability be carried to the farthest extent of their range before 
they were let loose or deposited. 

The ice-islands, on being detached from their original place of 
formation by some violent storm, are conveyed to the westward by 
the southeast winds which are prevalent here, and are found, the first 
season after their separation, about seventy miles north of the barrier. 
This was inferred from the observations of both the Vincennes and 
Porpoise, the greatest number having been found about that distance 
from the barrier. That these were recently detached is proven by 
their stratified appearance ; while those at a greater distance had 
lost their primitive form, were much worn, and showed many 
more signs of decay. Near the extreme point of the barrier visited, 
in longitude 97° E., latitude 62° 30' S., and where it begins to 
trend to the westward, vast collections of these islands were en- 
countered. From this point they must pass to the northward during 
the next season, partly influenced by the current, and partly scattered 
by the prevailing winds, until they reach the sixtieth degree of lati- 
tude, when they encounter the easterly and north-easterly streams that 
are known to prevail, which carry them rapidly to the north. 

Our data for their actual drift, though not altogether positive, are 
probably the best that can be had, and will go far towards ascer- 
taining the velocity of their progress to lower latitudes ; our observa- 
tions also furnish some estimate of the time in which they are 
formed. On our way south, we did not fall in with ice-islands until 
we reached latitude 61° S. The Peacock was the first to return, 
and nearly upon the track by which we had gone south ; the last 
seen by her was in 55° S. The Vincennes, on her return fifty days 
later, saw them in 51° S. The Porpoise, about the same time, in 
53° S. The observation in the Vincennes gives a distance of ten 
degrees of latitude, or six hundred miles to be passed over in fifty 
days, which would give about half a mile an hour ; or, taking the 
Peacock's observations, a more rapid rate would be given, nearly 
three-fourths of a mile. Many icebergs were met in the latitude of 
42° S., by outward-bound ships to Sydney, in the month of Novem- 
ber; these, I learned, were much worn, and showed lofty pinnacles, 
exhibiting no appearance of having ever been of a tabular form. 
These no doubt are such as were detached during a former season, 
and being disengaged from the barrier, would be naturally, early the 
next season, drifted by the easterly current as well as the westerly wind, 


and would pursue the direction it gives them. They would therefore 
be driven to the northeast as far as the southwest winds prevail, 
and when these veer to the westward would receive an easterly 
direction ; it is where these winds prevail that they are most fre- 
quently found by the outward-bound vessels, — between the latitudes 
of 40° and 50° S. 

Respecting the period of time required for the formation of these 
ice-islands, much light cannot be expected to be thrown on the 
subject; but the few facts derived from observations lead to some 
conclusions. Many of them were measured, and their altitude found 
to be from fifty to two hundred and fifty feet ; eighty distinct stratifi- 
cations were counted in some of the highest, and in the smallest thirty, 
which appeared to average a little more than two feet in thickness. 
Supposing the average fall of snow in these high latitudes to be an 
inch a day, or thirty feet a year, the largest icebergs would take 
more than thirty years to form. They were seen by us in all the 
stages of their growth, and all bore unequivocal marks of the same 
origin. The distance from the land at which they were forming, 
fully satisfied me that their fresh water could only be derived from 
the snows, &c. 

The movement of the ice along the coast is entirely to the west- 
ward, and all the large range of ice-islands and bergs were found in 
that direction, while the eastern portion was comparatively free from 
it. A difference was found in the position of the floe-ice by the 
different vessels, caused rather by the wind than by the tide. When 
the Vincennes and Porpoise passed the opening by which the Pea- 
cock entered, it was found closed, although only twenty-four hours 
had elapsed. It has been seen that the ice had much movement 
during the time the Peacock was beset by it, and the bay was all but 
closed when she effected her escape. Another instance occurred, 
where the Porpoise, in about the longitude of 130° E., found the im- 
practicable barrier a few miles further south than the Vincennes did 
six or seven days after ; but this fact is not to be received as warrant- 
ing any general conclusion, on account of the occurrence of southeast 
gales during the intermediate time. The trials for currents have, for 
the most part, shown none to exist. The Porpoise, it is true, expe- 
rienced some, but these were generally after a gale. If currents do 
exist, their tendency is westward, which I think the drift of the ice 
would clearly prove. The difference between the astronomic positions 

vol. 11. 89 


and those given by dead-reckoning, was of no avail here as a test,* 
for the courses of the vessels among the ice were so tortuous, that 
the latter could not be depended upon. 

The winds which prevail from the southwest to the southeast occa- 
sionally bring clear weather, interrupted by flurries of snow; the 
north wind is light, and brings thick fogs, attended by a rise of 
temperature. Extremes of weather are experienced in rapid succes- 
sion, and it is truly a fickle climate. 

The evidence that an extensive continent lies within the icy 
barrier, must have appeared in the account of my proceedings, but 
will be, I think, more forcibly exhibited by a comparison with the 
aspect of other lands in the same southern parallel. Palmer's Land, 
for instance, which is in like manner invested with ice, is so at certain 
seasons of the year only, while at others it is craite clear, because 
strong currents prevail there, which sweep the ice off to the northeast. 
Along the Antarctic Continent for the whole distance explored, which 
is upwards of fifteen hundred miles, no open strait is found. The 
coast, where the ice permitted approach, was found enveloped with a 
perpendicular barrier, in some cases unbroken for fifty miles. If 
there were only a chain of islands, the outline of the ice would un- 
doubtedly be of another form ; and it is scarcely to be conceived that 
so long a chain could extend so nearly in the same parallel of latitude. 
The land has none of the abruptness of termination that the islands 
of high southern latitudes exhibit ; and I am satisfied that it exists in 
one uninterrupted line of coast, from Ringgold's Knoll, in the east, to 
Enderby's Land, in the west; that the coast (at longitude 95° E.) 
trends to the north, and this will account for the icy barrier existing, 
with little alteration, where it was seen by Cook in 1773. The vast 
number of ice-islands conclusively points out that there is some 
extensive nucleus which retains them in their position ; for I can see 
no reason why the ice should not be disengaged from islands, if they 
were such, as happens in all other cases in like latitudes. The for- 
mation of the coast is different from what would probably be found 
near islands, soundings being obtained in comparatively shoal water ; 
and the colour of the water also indicates that it is not like other 
southern lands, abrupt and precipitous. This cause is sufficient to 

* The fact of there being no northerly current along this extended line of coast, is a 
strong proof in my mind of its being a continent, instead of a range of islands. 


retain the huge masses of ice, by their being attached by their lower 
surfaces instead of their sides only. 

Much inquiry and a strong desire has been evinced by geologists, 
to ascertain the extent to which these ice-islands travel, the boulders 
and masses of earth they transport, and the direction they take. 

From my own observations, and the information I have collected, 
there appears a great difference in the movements of these vast 
masses; in some years, great numbers of them have floated north 
from the Antarctic Circle, and even at times obstructed the navigation 
about the capes. The year 1832 was remarkable in this respect; 
many vessels bound round Cape Horn from the Pacific, were obliged 
to put back to Chili, in consequence of the dangers arising from ice ; 
while, during the preceding and following years, little or none was 
seen : this would lead to the belief, that great changes must take 
place in the higher latitudes, or the prevalence of some cause to 
detach the ice-islands from the barrier in such great quantities as to 
cover almost the entire section of the ocean, south of the latitude 
50° S. Taking the early part of the (southern) spring, as the time of 
separation, we are enabled to make some estimate of the velocity with 
which they move : many masters of vessels have met them, some six 
or seven hundred miles from the barrier, from sixty to eighty days 
after this period, which will give a near approximation to our results 
heretofore stated. 

The season of 1839 and '40 was considered as an open one, from 
the large masses of ice that were met with in a low latitude, by 
vessels that arrived from Europe at Sydney : many of them were seen 
as far north as latitude 42° S. 

The causes that prevail to detach and carry them north, are 
difficult to assign. I have referred to the most probable ones that 
would detach them from the parent mass in their formation. Our 
frequent trials of currents, as has been stated, did not give us the 
assurance that any existed ; but there is little doubt in my mind 
that they do prevail. I should not, however, look to a surface cur- 
rent as being the motive power that carries these immense masses 
at the rate they move ; comparatively speaking, their great bulk is 
below the influence of any surface current, and the rapid drift of 
these masses by winds is still more improbable. Therefore I conceive 
we must look to an under current as their great propeller. In one trial 
of the deep-sea thermometer, we found the temperature beneath four 
degrees warmer than the surface. Off Cape Horn the under tempera- 


ture was found as cold as among the ice itself; repeated experiments 
have shown the same to occur in the Arctic regions. From this I would 
draw the conclusion that changes are going on, and it appears to me 
to be very reasonable to suppose, that at periods currents to and from 
the poles should at times exist ; it is true, we most generally find the 
latter to prevail, as far as our knowledge of facts extends, but we have 
not sufficient information yet to decide that there is not a reflow 
towards the pole ; the very circumstance of the current setting from 
the higher latitudes, would seem a good argument that there must be 
some counter-current to maintain the level of the waters. These 
masses, then, are most probably carried away in the seasons when 
the polar streams are the strongest, and are borne along by them at 
the velocity with which they move : that these do not occur annually 
may be inferred from the absence of ice-islands in the lower latitudes; 
and that it is not from the scarcity of them, those who shared the dan- 
gers of the Antarctic cruise, will, I have little doubt, be ready to testify ; 
for, although great numbers of them studded the ocean that year, yet 
the narrative shows that vast numbers of them were left. 

The specific gravity of the ice varies very much, as might naturally 
be expected ; for while some of it is porous and of a snowy texture, 
other islands are in great part composed of a compact blue flinty ice. 
This difference is occasioned by the latter becoming saturated with 
water, which afterwards freezes. 

On the ice there was usually a covering of about two feet of snow, 
which in places had upon it a crust of ice not strong enough to 
bear the weight of a man. Those ice-islands, which after having 
been once seen were again passed through immediately after a gale, 
were observed to be changed in appearance; but though for forty- 
eight hours a severe storm had been experienced, they had not 
undergone so great a transformation as not to be recognised. They 
also appeared to have shifted their position with regard to one 
another, their former bias and trendings being broken up. 

During our stay on the icy coast, I saw nothing of what is termed 
pack-ice, — that is, pieces forced one upon the other by the action of 
the sea or currents. 

On the 21st the weather became unsettled, with light westerly winds, 
and we made but little progress to the westward. The barrier, at 6 
p. M., was seen trending to the westward. In consequence of indica- 
tions that threatened bad weather, I deemed it useless risk to remain in 
the proximity of so many ice-islands, and a strong breeze, with squally 


weather, having already set in, I took advantage of it, feeling satisfied 
that our farther continuance in this icy region would not only be 
attended with peril to the ship, but would cause a waste of the time 
which was demanded by my other duties ; and having nearly three 
thousand miles to sail to our next port (Bay of Islands), I made up 
my mind to turn the head of the vessel northward. 

I therefore had the officers and crew called aft, thanked them all 
for their exertions and good conduct during the trying scenes they 
had gone through, congratulated them on the success that had at- 
tended us, and informed them that I had determined to bear up and 
return north. 

Having only twenty-five days' full allowance of water, I ordered its 
issue to be reduced to half allowance. 

I have seldom seen so many happy faces, or such rejoicings, as the 
announcement of my intention to return produced. But although 
the crew were delighted at the termination of this dangerous cruise, 
not a word of impatience or discontent had been heard during its 
continuance. Neither had there been occasion for punishment ; and 
I could not but be thankful to have been enabled to conduct the ship 
through so difficult and dangerous a navigation without a single 
accident, with a crew in as good, if not in better condition than when 
we first reached the icy barrier. For myself, I indeed felt worse for 
the fatigues and anxieties I had undergone ; but I was able to attend 
to all my duties, and considered myself amply repaid for my im- 
paired health by the important discoveries we had made, and the 
success that had attended our exertions. 

I shall now leave the Vincennes to pursue her route northward, 
and return to the Porpoise, the result of whose proceedings will be 
detailed in the following chapter. 








On the 22d January, the Porpoise lost sight of the Peacock, and 
continued beating to the southwest. The weather was extremely 
cold; some shrimps were caught; sea-water froze on being a few 
minutes in the bucket on deck. The water at 3 p. m. was much dis- 
coloured; got a cast of the lead with two hundred fathoms: no 
bottom ; found the current south-by-east three-fourths of a mile per 
hour. At 4" 30 m , passed large icebergs, one of which had several 
dark horizontal veins, apparently of earth, through it ; large quantities 
of floe and drift-ice to the southward ; the sea very smooth. A report 
of high land was made this morning ; indeed every thing indicated 
the proximity of land. The number of seals, whales, penguins, 
shrimps, &c, had very much increased. The pure white pigeons 
were also seen in numbers. 

23d. Countless icebergs in sight ; the sea quite smooth ; not the 
slightest motion perceptible. At meridian, they were in latitude 
66° 44' S., longitude 151° 24' E., and close to the barrier, which 
appeared quite impenetrable, as far as the eye could reach from aloft, 
to the north-northwest and north-northeast, with numberless immense 
ice-islands entangled and enclosed in it in all directions. The posi- 
tion they occupied seemed an inlet of elliptical shape, with an 
opening to the north. It was needless to count the many scattering 
islands of ice distinct from the vast chain ; intermingled with field- 
ice, they studded the gulf like so many islands, of various shapes and 
dimensions. At 2 h 25 m , a sail was discovered on the lee bow ; kept 
off to communicate, supposing it to be the Vincennes or Peacock. 
At 2 h 30 m , the Peacock was made out on the southern board, showing 

VOL. II. 91 


no disposition to communicate; showed our colours, and hauled to 
the westward. 

24th. The day was remarkably fine, such as is seldom experienced 
in this region. The water appeared much discoloured and of a dirty 
olive-green colour. At meridian, they again made the field-ice, and 
tacked to the northward, passing through large quantities of ice- 
islands, weather looking bad, with occasional light snow-storms. 

25th. Part of this day was clear and pleasant, though snow fell at 
intervals; the field-ice was in sight several times, and many ice- 
islands of great size and beauty. Penguins were swimming round, 
and also several shoals of black-fish ; a black albatross was shot ; 
towards night the weather became very thick ; they were in longitude 
150° E., latitude 65° 56' S. 

26th. Fresh winds blowing from the eastward; during the first few 
hours, a thick snow-storm ; at 4 a. m. it cleared ; at six o'clock made 
a sail ; the strange sail fired a gun and made signal, when we bore 
down and spoke her; she proved to be the Vincennes; compared 
chronometers, and received rate ; bore off to the westward under all 
sail; found the drift and floe-ice very thick, and were with great 
difficulty enabled to navigate through it; wind fresh, with a long 
swell from the southwest; at 5 h 30'", the ice increasing in quantity, 
found it was necessary to haul off. Lost sight of the Vincennes; 
weather very threatening. The course during the day proved a very 
tortuous one ; many penguins resting on the ice ; their gait is an 
awkward kind of strut. 

Received orders to-day by signal to meet the Vincennes along the 
icy barrier between the 20th and 28th of next month. 

27th. This day proved clear and cold; wind from the southwest; 
ice forming rapidly on the vessel; at meridian, lost sight of the 
Vincennes; very many ice-islands in sight; latitude 65° 41' S., 
longitude 142° 31' E. On this day, Lieutenant-Commandant Ring- 
gold determined with the fair wind to pass to the extreme limit of his 
orders, longitude 105° E. ; being of opinion he would thereby save 
time, and be enabled more effectually to examine the barrier with 
what he thought would be found the prevailing wind, viz. : that from 
the westward ; in this, however, he was mistaken. 

The 28th set in with a light breeze from east-northeast ; made all 
sail; at 5 a. si., wind increasing rapidly, snow falling fast, and 
weather becoming thick; at six o'clock, made the floe and drift-ice; 
shortened sail, and hauled off to the northwest, it becoming so thick 


as to render any advance unsafe ; until meridian, very strong winds 
from the eastward, the brig under close-reefed topsails ; at 2 p. m. 
found it difficult and hazardous to proceed, passing within a short 
distance of ice-islands, and just seeing them dimly through the 
obscurity ; at three, the brig was hove-to, and Lieutenant-Com- 
mandant Ringgold says, in reference to their situation — 

" I felt great anxiety to proceed, but the course was so perilous, 
the extent and trend of the barrier so uncertain, I could not reconcile 
it with prudence to advance. The frequent falling in with fields of 
drift-ice, the numerous and often closely-grouped chains of icebergs, 
were sufficient to point out discretion. The long-extended barrier 
Avas encountered in latitude 65° 08' S. ; at twelve to-day our position 
Avas 65° 16' S. ; it is easy to perceive the possibility of a trend 
northerly again, which would have placed us in a large and dan- 
gerous gulf, with a heavy gale blowing directly on, without a hope of 

"At 8 p. M., blowing very heavy; the snow falling rendered vision 
beyond a few yards impossible ; I have seldom experienced a heavier 
blow, and towards the conclusion the squalls were severe and 

The barometer at 3 a. m., stood at 28-200 in., the lowest point it 
reached during the gale. The temperature of the air was 26°. 

The severe gale continued during the 29th, with a heavy sea, and 
snow falling thickly ; at 8 a. m. the gale abated, and the clouds broke 
away ; through the day the sun occasionally out ; the weather ap- 
peared unsettled ; the sun set red and fiery ; the latitude was observed 
64° 46' S., longitude 137° 16' E. 

On the 30th they stood again to the southwest; at 2 a. m. they 
made the barrier of field-ice, extending from southeast to west, when 
it became necessary to haul more to the northwest ; the weather be- 
coming thick with a heavy fall of snow, at four o'clock, the wind 
increasing, compelled them to shorten sail ; at 7 h 30™ the ice in fields 
was discovered close aboard, heading west; at this time hauled imme- 
diately on a wind to the northeast, and soon passed out of sight of the 
ice and out of danger ; during the day blowing a gale of wind, and 
very heavy sea running, passing occasional ice-islands ; at meridian, 
being clear of the barrier, the brig was hove-to under storm-sails, to 
await the clearing of the weather. In the afternoon the weather 
showed signs of clearing ; the sun coming out, again made sail to 
approach the barrier ; no ice in sight ; great numbers of black petrels 


At 4 p. M. discovered a ship ahead, and shortly after another was 
made, both standing to the northward ; the brig hauled up to the north- 
west, intending to cut them off and speak them, supposing them to be 
the Vincennes and the Peacock ; shortly afterwards they were seen to 
be strangers, being smaller ships than our own ; at 4 h 30 m the Porpoise 
hoisted her colours. Knowing that an English squadron under 
Captain Ross was expected in these seas, Lieutenant-Commandant 
Ringgold took them for his ships, and was, as he says, " preparing 
to cheer the discoverer of the North Magnetic Pole." 

" At 4 h 50™, being within a mile and a half, the strangers showed 
French colours : the leeward and stemmost displayed a broad pen- 
nant ; concluded now that they must be the French discovery ships 
under Captain D'Urville, on a similar service with ourselves : desirous 
of speaking and exchanging the usual and customary compliments 
incidental to naval life, I closed with the strangers, desiring to pass 
within hail under the flag-ship's stern. While gaining fast, and 
being within musket-shot, my intentions too evident to excite a 
doubt, so far from any reciprocity being evinced, I saw with surprise 
sail making by boarding the main tack on board the flag-ship. 
Without a moment's delay, I hauled down my colours and bore up on 
my course before the wind." 

It is with regret that I mention the above transaction, and it cannot 
but excite the surprise of all that such a cold repulse should have 
come from a French commander, when the officers of that nation are 
usually so distinguished for their politeness and attention. It was 
with no small excitement I heard the report of it, — that the vessels of 
two friendly powers, alike engaged upon an arduous and hazardous 
service, in so remote a region, surrounded with every danger naviga- 
tors could be liable to, should meet and pass without even the 
exchange of common civilities, and exhibit none of the kind feelings 
that the situation would naturally awaken : — how could the French 
commander know that the brig was not in distress or in want of assist- 
ance ? By refusing to allow any communication with him, he not 
only committed a wanton violation of all proper feeling, but a breach 
of the courtesy due from one nation to another. It is difficult to 
imagine what could have prompted him to such a course. 

At 6 p. m. the weather again was thick, with the wind south- 
easterly ; field-ice again in sight ; it commenced snowing, and the 
French ships were lost sight of. At 8 p. m., they passed in sight of 
large fields of ice and ice-islands ; at 10 h 30 m , the snow falling so dense 
and the weather so thick, that it was impossible to see the brig's 


length in any direction ; she was hove-to, to await a change of 

The beginning of the 31st the gale continued; at 7 a. m. mode- 
rating, they again made sail to the westward ; in half an hour 
discovered a high barrier of ice to the northward, with ice-islands 
to the southward; at 10 a. m. they found themselves in a great inlet 
formed by vast fields of ice, which they had entered twelve hours 
previously ; the only opening appearing to the eastward, they were 
compelled to retrace their steps, which they effected at 8 p. M., 
passing some ice-islands which they recognised as having been seen 
the evening before. They now found themselves out of this dan- 
gerous position, and, passing the point, kept away to the westward. 
Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold judged it prudent to heave-to 
during the night, on account of the darkness. 

February 1st. The immense perpendicular barrier encountered yes- 
terday was now in sight, trending as far as the eye could reach to the 
westward ; it was of tabular form, from one hundred and fifty to one 
hundred and eighty feet in height, of solid compact ice, resembling 
a long line of coast ; wind moderate from the southeast, — a brilliant 
blink extending along and elevated above the barrier. At 4 p. M., 
they arrived at the end of this barrier, and found it trending off to 
the southward, seeming as if numbers of icebergs had been broken 
from the barrier by some mighty force, exceeding in numbers any 
thing that had yet been seen, and extending as far south as could be 
distinguished, interspersed with much drift and floe-ice. On the 
southern horizon sixty-four ice-islands were counted, exclusive of 
many near them, and those that were not distinguishable from the 

The current was tried here, and found setting southeast nearly a 
mile an hour. Pigeons around in numbers, also whales and large 
flocks of penguins. 

The nights now evidently lengthened, thus adding to the cares and 
anxieties attendant on this navigation. It was fortunate that the 
prevailing winds were from the southeast and southwest, or coming 
off the ice. If they had blown from the northward, they would 
have been attended with danger, and might have proved fatal to the 

2d. At meridian, in longitude 130° 36' E., and latitude 65° 24' S. 
They were prevented from proceeding farther to the southward by 
the impenetrable icy barrier. At this time they had one hundred 

vol. ii. 92 



large ice-islands in sight, without counting any of the smaller bergs, 
which were innumerable ; saw great numbers of penguins and some 
seals (Phoca proboscidse). The current was tried here, and found 
setting as yesterday, and at the same rate. 

At 8 p. m., were obliged to retrace their steps to the northward, the 
weather becoming thick, with light snow. At eleven, constant and 
thick snow-storm, and unable to see any distance; the gale con- 
tinuing, lay-to under a close-reefed main-topsail. The vignette, from 
a sketch by Mr. Totten, will give some idea of her situation. 

3d. A gale from southeast, heavy sea rising ; occasionally passing 
ice-islands and field-ice. The gale continued throughout the day, 
but moderated towards midnight; the sea was heavy, the weather 
thick, and the brig completely covered with ice and snow. The 
barometer fell to 28-040 in. Temperature of the air 32°. 

4th. Although the wind was moderate, yet it was so thick and 
foggy as to preclude bearing up. Towards meridian it cleared 
sufficiently for them to bear up and continue their examinations. 
To-day the current was found west-northwest, three quarters of a 
mile per hour. 

On the 5th they had a beautiful day, — no climate or region, 
Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold remarks, could have produced 


a finer : this gave them an opportunity of thoroughly drying every 
thing and ventilating the vessel, which was much required ; standing 
to the northward, in order to make a long board to the westward ; the 
longitude 127° 08' E., latitude 63° 22' S. ; few ice-islands in sight, 
and those appeared much worn, showing marks of rapid decay, with 
isolated pieces, — some standing erect, while others were inclined, re- 
sembling fragments of columns and broken arches. This night there 
was a brilliant display of the aurora australis : at eleven o'clock there 
was perceived in the northern horizon a luminous arched cloud, at 
15° of altitude, extending from northwest to northeast; the stars 
were partially obscured in the direction of the clouds; the pale 
flashes or coruscations vanishing very suddenly, were succeeded by 
spiral columns or streamers, converging with great velocity towards 
the zenith ; brilliant flashes would again issue forth from the remote 
parts of the cloud, succeeded in quick succession by perpendicular 
rays emanating from the cloud, having the shape of a rounded 
column or basaltic-shaped cylinder, which in contrast with the dark 
cloud showed in broad relief. As the cloud seemed to rise, the scene 
became a most interesting one, from the varied and oft-changing 
coruscations : finally the arc assumed a contracted and elliptical form, 
vivid streamers bursting forth as if from a corona, converging all 
towards the zenith, until they were lost in the coming day. The 
magnetic needle did not show any disturbance. The barometer stood 
stationary during its continuance. The sympiesometer indicated a 
slight fall. At the time there was no wind ; the stars were brilliant, 
and all visible. 

6th. During this day they had light winds ; pursued their course 
to the westward ; wind from the southward. In the afternoon they 
had light flurries of snow, and at times hail ; the sea perfectly smooth, 
and few icebergs in sight. Longitude 125° 32' E., latitude 63° 
34' S. 

During the 7th, the winds variable ; at eight tacked to the south- 
ward, in order to close in with the barrier ; the wind again hauling, 
tacked; the number of icebergs increasing; all those seen for the few 
days past have appeared variously shaped, much worn and fractured, 
some evidently overturned, and immense arches or caves washed in 
them ; they were totally distinct from those seen to-day. 

8th. A brisk breeze from the southward, which carried them on 
rapidly to the westward. At meridian, discovered compact fields of 
ice, with many stupendous ice-islands enclosed within it; the ice 
appeared more broken than any hitherto seen, with many fragments 



of icebergs resembling spires and broken columns. Altered their 
course to clear the barrier, and by two o'clock they had extricated 
themselves. Penguins, whales, brown pigeons, and the black alba- 
tross, were seen near the barrier. In the afternoon the snow fell in 
beautiful shining spicule, resembling stars, usually of six, but some- 
times of twelve points : they varied from one-eighth to one-sixteenth 
of an inch in diameter. 

The barrier was occasionally seen, and the ice-islands began again 
to assume a tabular form ; towards the close of the day. very many 
whales, penguins, &c, seen. Longitude 116° E., latitude 64° 01' S. 

On the 9th, fresh breezes from the southeast; at 10 a. m. made the 
barrier again, the weather being favourable ; at 4 p. m. standing along 
the barrier, through drift-ice, with countless icebergs in sight ; good 
observations were obtained, placing them in longitude 112° 41' E., 
and latitude 64° 55' S. At 10 p. m., some few appearances of the 
aurora australis in the northern sky, light coruscations streaming 
upwards, but quite faint, and only for a very short period; many stars 
and several constellations were traced without difficulty. The sea 
was smooth ; lowered a boat to try the current, but found none. The 
dip was 83° 30'. 

On the morning of the 10th the weather cleared off, and gave them 
an opportunity of ventilating the vessel ; closed in with the field-ice 
for the purpose of obtaining a supply of water, and the boats were 
despatched to take in ice; the longitude was found to be 110° 34' E., 
latitude 65° 12' S. ; the field-ice here was found to be interspersed 
with many large ice-islands and bergs. At five o'clock the boats 
returned with ice. The current was found to be setting north-north- 
east, five fathoms an hour; the weather continued clear and healthful; 
made the field-ice ahead and on the lee bow ; shortly after, cleared it. 
The twilight in the southern horizon presented a beautiful appearance, 
a bright salmon colour radiating from the sun, throwing its tints over 
the whole sky, tinging the few cirro-stratus clouds that were in the 
northern quarter, and giving a soft colour to the immense ice-islands 
that were slumbering along the barrier, and aiding to lend to the scene 
its peculiar character of silence, solitude, and desolation. 

The weather was clear and pleasant on the 11th, with a light wind 
from the southeast ; many penguins and whales were seen. The 
icebergs were numerous, and some of great beauty, with almost 
regularly turned arches, and of the most beautiful aqua-marine tints. 
Longitude was 106° 10' E., latitude 65° 28' S. 

During the morning of the 12th, running along high broken fields 


of ice, with a light breeze from the southward; weather overcast; 
discovered a large piece of ice of a dark brown colour floating by, 
resembling a piece of dead coral ; lay-to, and sent a boat to bring it 
alongside; obtained from it several pieces of granite and red clay, 
which were frozen in ; the ice was extremely hard and compact, 
composed of alternate layers of ice and snow; the strata of snow were 
filled with sand. The icebergs near at the time presented signs of 
having been detached from land, being discoloured by sand and mud. 
A number of white procellaria were obtained. The ice-islands again 
appeared in great numbers. At 3 p. m., hauled up, steering westerly 
into a very deep inlet or gulf, formed by extensive fields of ice, 
believing from the indications of the morning that land could not be 
far off. In approaching the head of this inlet, several icebergs had the 
appearance of being in contact with the land, having assumed a dark 
colour from the clay and sand blown upon them ; the whole group 
around seemed as if in the vicinage of land. Sounded with two 
hundred fathoms: no bottom; also tried the current, but found none. 
Towards night, it becoming thick with snow, they continued under 
snug sail, intending to examine more closely the barrier and inlets in 
the morning. 

13th. At 3 a. m. they again made sail to the westward, with wind 
from the east; at six o'clock they had snow-squalls, rendering it 
unsafe to proceed, and impossible to make any discovery. A few 
hours afterwards the weather cleared a little ; made sail again to the 
northwest. At meridian overcast, with a stiff southeast breeze ; at 
l h 30 m , approached to within pistol-shot of the barrier, observing 
much of the dark dirty ice interspersed with the field-ice ; kept along 
it very closely, tracing the barrier northerly ; observed a large black 
object on the ice; shortened sail, and despatched a boat: it proved to 
be a large mass of black, red, and mixed-coloured earth, resting upon 
a base of snow and ice, situated some fifty yards back from the 
margin of the field-ice, and was found to be red earth, mixed with 
granite and sandstone. Penguins were also procured alive. At 3 
p. M., they again followed the trend of the ice in a northwesterly 
direction : a vast field, of uninterrupted extent, seemed moving 
along to the westward, the large icebergs containing dark and dis- 
coloured masses, with frequent strata of the same description. They 
were still at a loss to account for these frequent signs of land : dis- 
coloured pieces of ice seemed mingled with the general mass ; they 
were often seen along its margin, and appeared as though the 

vol. ii. 93 



icebergs had been turned over, presenting collections as if from the 
bottom. Great numbers of sperm whales were seen this day. At 
8 p. M. they passed out northwardly, with a light breeze and smooth 
sea, through an extensive chain of icebergs, which seemed grouped 
off the western point of the barrier : upwards of one hundred of 
them were counted, several of which were very much discoloured. 
The sunset was brilliant, bright crimson tints illuminating the ice- 
bergs, and producing a beautiful effect. 

On the 14th, Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold, having passed a 
few degrees beyond his instructions, that is, having reached longitude 
100° E., and latitude 64° 15' S., now commenced his return, in order 
to examine those places in the barrier which he had been prevented 
from doing on his way west. 

15th. Continued their course to the eastward. Lieutenant-Com- 
mandant Ringgold frequently refers to the happy and cheerful 
condition of his crew, and their freedom from all disease. 

On the 16th and 17th, they were employed in getting to the east- 
ward, passing many worn and shattered bergs. On the evening of 
the latter day, they had another exhibition of the aurora australis, 
extending from north-northwest to east : it was of a light straw-colour, 
but very indistinct; the luminous bank was at an elevation of 30°. 
The light in the northwest was most distinct, radiating from a nucleus 
above the horizon towards the zenith, where it formed a beautiful 
halo. It was not of long duration. Many ice-islands and bergs in 
sight: upwards of two hundred; nearly all of a tabular form, — the 
sides of many of them beautifully excavated by the waves, presenting 
innumerable Gothic arches, extending often to a considerable distance 
into the body of the ice. 

Their position on the 18th was in longitude 114° 17' E., latitude 
62° 37' S. Flocks of black birds were very numerous, but not near 
enough to be taken. 

On the 19th and 20th, proceeding to the eastward. On the 20th, 
they had but few ice-islands in sight, although they were seventy 
miles farther south than on the 18th, when the largest number ever 
seen by them at one time was visible. Having reached the longitude 
of 120° E., they again steered south to make the barrier. The 
current was tried, but none found. 

The 21st proved stormy, with strong breezes from the southeast, 
and much snow and rain, which covered the brig with ice. Field-ice 
was seen ahead, when they again stood to the eastward, longitude 


being 121° 30' E., latitude 65° 15' S. On this night they experienced 
a heavy gale, during which the barometer fell to 27-50 in., where it 
remained during part of the 22d. The squalls were very severe, 
accompanied with snow, sleet, hail, and heavy seas : they had now 
reached longitude 122° E., and latitude 64° 09' S. 

February 22d, being Washington's birthday, the colours were 
hoisted, and the crew received an extra allowance. Lieutenant- 
Commandant Ringgold took this occasion to express to them his 
satisfaction for the manner in which they had performed their 
duties during the present cruise, and that their conduct would 
be duly represented to the commander of the Expedition, and the 

On the 23d, the weather was again thick, with snow and mist. 

On the 24th they had reached longitude 126° E., and latitude 64° 
29' S. On this day they again sighted the barrier; when, having 
completed what he deemed a full execution of his instructions, Lieu- 
tenant-Commandant Ringgold determined to put the brig's head 
north, — which was accordingly done. 

Strong winds and gales continued for the next three days. On the 
27th they again found themselves in east variation, in longitude 138° 
E., latitude 60° 08' S. The white albatross had now again become 

On the 29th, they had a beautiful display of the aurora australis; 
the whole southern hemisphere was covered with arches of a beautiful 
straw-colour, from which streamers radiated, both upwards and down- 
wards, of almost a lustrous white ; numbers of concentric arches would 
occasionally show themselves, of a width of a few feet, uniting to form 
a complete canopy for a moment, and then vanish. The arches ex- 
tended from east-southeast to west-northwest ; the display continued 
for over two hours; the stars were seen above them. Previous to, 
and during its continuance, the thermometer indicated a change of 
four degrees, and the wind shifted to the southward. 

On the 1st of March, in latitude 55° S., and longitude 140° E., 
they passed the last ice-island. 

On the 2d, great numbers of pyrosoma of large size were passed. 

On the 4th, some faint appearances of the aurora australis were 

On the 5th, the Lord Auckland Isles were descried. Mr. Totten, 
who was officer of the deck, was accidentally knocked overboard by 
the trysail-boom, but was fortunately rescued without injury. Im- 


mense numbers of albatrosses were about. The aurora was again 
seen in the southern hemisphere. 


On the 7th, they anchored in the harbour of Sarah's Bosom, in 
twelve fathoms water. During their brief stay here all were actively 
employed wooding and watering, for which this harbour affords 
a fine opportunity. Assistant-Surgeon Holmes made several ex- 
cursions on the largest island, of which he gives the following 

" I found it very thickly covered with trees in its less elevated 
parts. As few of them were of any size, I found no small difficulty in 
penetrating and making my way through them : in many places it 
was absolutely impossible. It was only after a long and fatiguing 
walk, that I succeeded in reaching the summit of that part of the 
island near which the brig was anchored, where I found the trees 
less numerous. A thick growth of underwood and dwarf bushes, 
intermixed with ferns, concealed the surface, rendering it difficult to 
walk. Even on the places apparently most level, the ground was 
very unequal, and a single step would sometimes send me nearly up 
to the neck into a hollow filled with large fern fronds. On the 
highest parts, the small level spots were covered only with moss, and 
a description of tall grass, and in places also a kind of grain grew 
abundantly. The ground was dry every where, all the water 
being found in the streams, which were numerous and pure. Near 
the summit, the ground was perforated in all directions, probably 
by birds, who rear their young in these holes. Many of the birds, 
principally procellaria, were sitting on the ground : they made no 
effort to escape, but suffered themselves to be taken without any 
attempt at resistance. 

" The forest was full of small birds, of three or four different species, 
which were perfectly fearless : one little fellow alighted on my cap as 
I was sitting under a tree, and sang long and melodiously ; another 
and still smaller species, of a black colour, spotted with yellow, was 


numerous, and sang very sweetly ; its notes were varied, but approxi- 
mated more nearly to the song of our blackbird ; occasionally a note 
or two resembled the lark. Hawks too were numerous, and might 
be seen on almost all the dead trees, in pairs. Along the sea- 
coast were to be seen the marks of their ravages upon the smaller 
birds. The sea-birds were very numerous on the opposite side of the 
island, setting upon the cliffs or hovering over the islet." 

On the western side of the Auckland Island, the under-brush and 
young trees are exceedingly thick. Dr. Holmes remarks, that it was 
impossible to penetrate; that he was occupied fully an hour in 
making his way for a hundred yards, where to all appearance a 
human step had never before trodden. There was not a vestige of 
a track; old trees were strewn about irregularly, sometimes kept 
erect by the pressure on all sides. Some trees were seen upwards of 
seventy feet in height, although the generality were only from fifteen 
to twenty ; every part of the island was densely covered with vege- 
tation ; the soil, from the decomposition of vegetable matter, had 
acquired considerable richness ; specimens of all the plants were 
collected. The botany of these islands is nearly allied to that of 
New Zealand, and will be found treated of in the Botanical Report, 
to which I would refer. Some species resembling the tropical plants 
were found here, viz., the coffeaceous plants. 

These islands have in many places the appearance of having been 
raised directly from the sea ; the cliffs consisted of basalt, and were 
generally from fifty to ninety feet perpendicular. 

The Auckland Islands are the resort of whalers for the purpose of 
refitting and awaiting the whaling season, which occurs here in the 
months of April and May. Near the watering place a commodious 
hut has been erected by a French whaler. Near by was another in 
ruins, and close to it the grave of a French sailor, whose name was 
inscribed on a wooden cross erected over it. Some attempts at form- 
ing a garden were observed at one of the points of Sarah's Bosom, and 
turnips, cabbage, and potatoes, were growing finely, which, if left un- 
disturbed, will soon cover this portion of the island ; to these a few 
onions were added. Besides the birds, the only living creature was a 
small mouse, one of which Dr. Holmes caught : it made no attempt to 
get out of his way, and seemed to have no fear when taken ; being con- 
signed to a pocket, he soon contrived to escape. Many of the 
smaller islands of this group were visited; they closely resemble 

vol. 11. 94 


the larger one. Penguins were numerous, and of a variety of 

These isles have a picturesque, wild, steep, and basaltic appear- 
ance : the highest peak was estimated to be eight hundred feet ; the 
smaller has a less elevation : the general aspect of the land resembles 
the region around Cape Horn. The harbour of Sarah's Bosom is not 
the most secure ; that of Lawrie's is protected from all winds, and has 
a large and fine streamlet of water at its head. The rocks are covered 
with limpets, and small fish of many varieties are caught in quanti- 
ties among the kelp. The crew enjoyed themselves on chowders and 
fries. No geese were seen, and the only game observed were a few 
gray ducks, snipe, cormorants, and the common shag. The land 
birds are excellent eating, especially the hawks ; and on the whole, it 
is a very desirable place at which to refit. 

On the 9th of March they had finished, and were prepared for sea, 
but the weather was threatening and caused them to delay. The 
magnetic dip was found to be 73° 47' 30" S. 

A whaler, under Portuguese colours, but commanded by an Eng- 
lishman, arrived, and anchored in Lawrie's Cove, to await the coming 
of the whales ! The night proved stormy ; the wind at 10" 30 m from 
the northeast, blowing very heavy in puffs. Towards noon it 
moderated, and at 2 p. m. they got under way, with a light breeze 
from the northwest, and stood to sea. 

The latitude of Sarah's Bosom is 50° 38' S. ; the longitude 165° 
28' E. 

On the 12th no current was found; latitude 49° 27' S., longitude 
168° 13' E. The weather experienced from this port to New Zealand 
was very similar to that in passing from Cape Horn to Valparaiso : 
northerly winds with mist and fog prevailing, with a heavy sea. On 
the 17th they fell in with the whale-ship Mary and Martha, of Ply- 
mouth, Coffin master, who informed them that there were at least 
one hundred whale-ships cruising in the neighbouring seas ; of these, 
several were seen. This will give some idea of the number of vessels 
employed, and how great a capital is engaged in this business. 

On the 18th they had a gale from north-northwest, which lasted 
through the day, moderating at sunset. They were in latitude 43° 
02' S., longitude, by chronometer, 175° 24' E. The barometer sank 
to 29-30 in. A current was experienced setting northwest, in the 
direction of Cook's Straits. 


On the 20th, in latitude 41° 00' S., longitude 177° E., the current 
was found setting northeast-by-north, half a mile per hour. On the 
22d and 23d they experienced a heavy gale from the southeast, 
when they were in longitude 179° 35' E., and latitude 37° 52' S. ; 
during the morning of the latter day the wind hauled to the south- 
southwest; the barometer, at 3 a. m., stood at 29-10 in. ; the weather 
cleared, with the wind at southwest. 

On the 26th, they reached and anchored in the river Kawa-Kawa, 
in the Bay of Islands, off the American consul's, about three miles 
above its mouth. Many vessels were passed lying at anchor off the 
town of Kororarika. Here they found the tender Flying-Fish; all 

The cruise of the latter will now be taken up from the 1st of 
January, on which day she parted company with the Vincennes, 
in consequence of having carried away a gaff, and being obliged to 
shorten sail, in doing which their jib-stay got adrift, and carried 
away the squaresail-yard before it could be secured. The vessel was 
in the mean time exposed to a heavy sea beating over her, and at 
midnight they were compelled to heave-to. They then steered for 
the first rendezvous, Macquarie Island, where they arrived on the 
10th, in the afternoon, and saw the Peacock, but it becoming thick, 
they were not seen by that ship. 

On the 11th, Acting-Master Sinclair landed for the purpose of 
placing a signal on the island, agreeably to instructions. The land- 
ing was found difficult and dangerous, and their description of the 
island agrees with that heretofore given of it from the notes of Mr. 
Eld, as being dreary and inhospitable. Large numbers of penguins, 
and small green and yellow paroquets were seen. Near where they 
landed, they saw about twenty huge sea-elephants basking on the 
rocks, which did not seem to heed them ; when disturbed, they would 
only throw their carcasses over, open their mouths, utter a loud 
growl, and go to sleep again ; no measurement was taken of them, 
and one which was killed could not be taken in the boat. The soil 
was soft and spongy, yielding to the pressure of the feet. The staff 
and signal being planted, they returned on board, and now passed 
the surf without difficulty. 

On the 12th, they put away for the next rendezvous, Emerald 
Isle. They reached its position on the 14th, but nothing was seen 
of it ; the weather was thick. 


On the 16th, they kept off to the southward, with the wind from 
the southwest, accompanied with sleet and snow. In latitude 61° S., 
longitude 164° E., they saw the first ice. The next day, the 19th of 
January, the water was very much discoloured ; got a cast of the lead 
in ninety fathoms : no bottom ; passed a number of icebergs that were 
all flat on the top, with perpendicular sides. 

On the 21st they made the icy barrier, in longitude 159° 36' E., 
and latitude 65° 20' S. From the number of icebergs and the fre- 
quency of snow-squalls, they found great danger in running through 
them, although the water was quite smooth. 

On the 22d the weather proved pleasant, and they followed the 
trend of the ice. The ice-islands still showed fiat tops and perpendi- 
cular sides, and there were a number of birds, seals, and whales 
around them; they Avere at noon in longitude 158° 27' E. On this 
day they were close by an iceberg, from the main body of which a 
large mass fell with a noise like thunder ; the snow flying into the 
air resembled smoke, and the swell produced by the immersion of 
the fragment caused the schooner to roll water in on her deck. A 
number of large penguins were in sight, differing from any they had 
heretofore seen. 

On the 23d the weather was pleasant, and they had light winds 
from the southward and westward. Longitude 157° 49' E., latitude 
65° 58' S. They continued coasting along the ice in search of an 
opening. At 8 p. m. they discovered several dark spots, which had 
the appearance of rocks, and on approaching the margin of the ice, 
they could make them out to be such with their glasses, but they 
were situated too far within the field-ice for a boat to get near them. 
This day being fine, an opportunity was afforded of drying the deck 
and clothes, and searing the seams with a hot iron. The vessel had 
been very wet, and her decks leaked badly, notwithstanding the 
thorough calking and repairs she had received at Sydney : the crew 
were almost constantly wet, below as well as above deck. 

On the 24th they were obliged to steer again to the northward, in 
consequence of making the barrier ahead. Sea-lions were seen on 
the ice. They continued to follow the barrier, which trended north- 
northeast; the compasses were very sluggish. On the 26th and 27th 
the weather became bad, with the wind to the northward and west- 
ward, accompanied by a heavy fall of snow : in the evening of the latter 
day, the wind hauled to the southward and westward, and brought 


clear weather. The 28th passed with clear weather, and several seals 
were about them. 

The 29th was thick and snowy, with a northeast wind ; passed 
through quantities of drift-ice, and by 2 h 30 m , it had become so thick 
as to render a continuance of their course perilous ; at 7 p. m. they 
again made the solid barrier, when it was blowing a stiff gale ; at 9 h 
30"' discovered the ice ahead, and on both beams ; wore round to the 
northward and eastward, to retrace their steps; it was not long before 
they discovered a chain of ice-islands ahead, apparently connected by 
solid ice; about midnight a passage was discovered between two ice- 
bergs, through which they passed ; it was now blowing a heavy gale, 
and having gained the open sea, they attempted to reef the foresail, 
but were unequal to the task (four of the men being on the sick-list), 
and were compelled to lay -to under the whole sail, which caused the 
vessel to labour very much, as well as to leak a great deal, and en- 
dangered her safety by making her fly into the wind, and get a stern- 
board in a high sea. 

On the 30th, in the morning, the gale abated, and the weather 
became more pleasant than they had experienced for a number of 
days. They had reached the longitude of 150° 16' E., latitude 65° 
15' S. On this day they again passed into blue water. 

31st January was thick with snow ; a north wind and heavy sea. 

1st of February, they were running among ice, until they sighted 
the barrier, when they again hauled to the northward ; a moderate 
gale blowing, with thick weather and a heavy sea, they were obliged 
to heave-to. 

On the 2d and 3d, they were coasting the ice. In the afternoon of 
the 3d they again had bad weather, which made it necessary to bring 
to ; surrounded by bergs and drift-ice : the latter, in case of striking, 
would have seriously injured the tender. The icebergs seen on these 
days, had the appearance of recent formation ; the tops flat, the sides 
perpendicular, and not worn by the action of the sea. 

On the 4th, the gale continued, and the sea had risen to an extra- 
ordinary height ; the weather was so thick that an iceberg could not 
be seen further than twice the length of the vessel. The tender was 
under too much sail, which caused her to labour dreadfully, in 
consequence of which she leaked in such a manner as to make it 
necessary to keep the pumps going almost continually. When they 
were stopped for a short time to rest the men, the water increased so 

vol. 11. 05 


as to reach the cabin-floor : the water came through the seams 
forward in such quantities as to wet every bed and article of clothing 
on the berth-deck. This was a great addition to the labour and dis- 
comfort of the crew, now reduced by sickness to four men, and the 
strength of these much impaired by previous sickness, excessive 
labour, and almost constant exposure. To relieve their situation as 
much as possible, Lieutenant Pinkney ordered them to make use of 
the cabin in common with the officers. To ease the pitching of the 
vessel, a quantity of coal was shifted aft; but although this was a 
partial relief, yet as she had too much sail on her, which they had 
been unable to reduce at the commencement of the gale, it was not 
sufficient to make her easy. 

On the 5th, the gale began to abate, when the crew, through one 
of their number, presented a communication to Lieutenant Pinkney, 
of which the following is a copy. 

We, the undersigned, the crew of the Schooner Flying-Fish, wish 
to let you know that we are in a most deplorable condition : the bed- 
clothes are all wet ; we have no place to lie down in ; we have not had 
a dry stitch of clothes for seven days ; four of our number are very 
sick ; and we, the few remaining number, can hold out no longer ; we 
hope 3 r ou will take it into consideration, and relieve us from what 
must terminate in our death. 

(Signed) A. Murray. Thomas Darling. 

John Anderson. James Daniels. 
F. Beale. Joseph. 

James Darling. John H. Weaver. 
To Lieutenant Pinkney, 

U. S. Schooner Flying-Fish. 

On the receipt of this appeal, Lieutenant Pinkney addressed an 
order to the officers, a copy of which follows. 

U. S. Schooner Flying-Fish, 
Lat. 66° S., long. 143° E., Feb. 5th, 1840. 

Gentlemen, — 

You will furnish me with your opinion, and the reasons which 
induced that opinion, of the propriety of any longer endeavouring to 


accomplish that part of the accompanying order, which refers to 
penetrating to the south. 

I am, respectfully, &c, 


Lieutenant- Commandant. 

To Acting Master George T. Sinclair. 
Passed Midshipman William May. 
Passed Midshipman George W. Harrison. 


U. S. Schooner Flying-Fish, 
Lat. 66° S., long. 143° E., Feb. 5th, 1840. 

Sir, — 

Agreeably to your order of this date, we, the undersigned officers, 
have to express our most thorough conviction, that the condition of 
this vessel's crew, and the vessel, loudly demand an immediate return 
to milder latitudes. 

The causes of this opinion are these : that the crew of this vessel, 
consisting of fifteen persons (four officers and eleven men), even if 
well, are entirely inadequate to her safe management ; but five are 
now confined to sick beds (one a servant), one of them is in a very 
critical state of health, and three others dragging out upon duty, 
complaining, and under medical treatment. Out of four, nominally 
performing duty, one of them, the cook, is totally unfit to a turn at 
the helm, and another cannot be trusted without the closest watch- 
ing ; indeed, so deficient in force are we, that in the gale of yesterday 
and the day before, and on a previous occasion, when it became 
extremely necessary to reef the foresail, the men were so deficient in 
physical strength as to make it impossible to accomplish it. 

The crew's apartment is in the most deplorable state, leaking like 
a sieve, all their beds being wet, their clothes on them being so, even 
to their under flannels, for one week, and without a dry change on 
hand, and no prospect of having one ; so miserable is their situation, 
that at length you have been compelled to allot them the cabin, in 
common with us, for the purpose of cooking, eating, and sleeping. 

Furthermore, sir, in the gale now abating we find that nearly 
constant application to the pump is barely sufficient to keep the 
water from flooding the cabin-floor, evidently having started a leak ; 


notwithstanding this, the condition of the crew is more imperative, 
much more so in this, our recommendation, for a return to the north- 
ward ; in fact, we would cheerfully continue to the southward, if we 
had a proper crew. 

Lastly, understanding that the crew, through one of their body, have 
waited upon you, and, by written application, also stated their inability 
to live through these hardships much longer, and begging your return. 
We are, respectfully, your obedient servants, 

(Signed) George T. Sinclair, 

Acting Master. 

William May, 
George W. Harrison, 

Passed Midshipmen. 

Lieut. Com. R. F. Pinkney, 

Commanding U. S. Schooner Flying-Fish. 

Lieutenant Pinkney, in accordance with this opinion, and his own 
conviction of the necessity of an immediate return to milder lati- 
tudes, as the only means of restoring the sick, and preserving those 
on duty, who were then incapable of managing the vessel without 
the assistance of the officers, deemed it his duty to steer for the north, 
which he accordingly did. 

The 6th and 7th continued thick, with occasional squalls. On the 
8th, the weather again broke up, when they had several hours of sun- 
shine, which proved of great benefit to the sick. Lieutenant Pinkney 
was enabled to come again on deck, who had scarcely been able to quit 
his berth since leaving Macquarie Island, from sickness. They had 
reached the longitude of 139° 45' E., latitude 61° S. At 11 p. m. 
the aurora was seen ; it was first visible in the southeast quarter, in 
spots resembling pale moonlight, extending to the zenith, from whence 
it diverged in rays, some of which reached the horizon, but the greatest 
number terminated at an altitude of twenty -five or thirty degrees. On 
the 9th, the aurora was also seen in the west, in vertical rays of pale 
yellow light, commencing about five degrees above the horizon, and 
extending to an altitude of thirty degrees. After a short time it dis- 
appeared, and was again seen in the zenith, radiating in lines to the 
northeast and west, reaching to within ten degrees of the horizon. 
The wind was from the southward. Temperature 34°. The follow- 
ing five days they had thick weather, and nothing occurred until the 
evening of the 14th, when they again had a display of the aurora 
the coruscations were frequent and brilliant, but did not exhibit any 


different form, until after midnight, when it appeared in arches, 
reaching nearly to the horizon, at from 45° to 73° of altitude, and 
composed of short perpendicular lines, blending at one moment into 
a sheet of misty light, and then breaking out into brighter lines, some 
of which were broad. It then again shifted to the zenith, with radia- 
tions extending in every direction, in straight and wavy lines. The 
changes were incessant, but not shooting. 

On the morning of the 15th, they again had a display of the 
aurora. It first appeared in the southern heavens, at an altitude of 
45°, flashing to the zenith, where it disappeared. After midnight it 
was again visible in the southern quarter, at about 30° of altitude. 
It finally centered in a bright spot, which changed into a crescent, 
with the rounded side to the northward. From this, feathery-edged 
rays of pale orange-colour branched off in every direction, over 
which the prismatic colours seemed to flit in rapid succession. 
The rays would sometimes fold into one another like a fan, and 
reach the horizon in one direction, while in another they were 
drawn up to the zenith, again to burst forth in repetitions, until lost 
in daylight. On the 19th the aurora again appeared in an arch of 
15° altitude. 

They passed the last icebergs in latitude 55° 30' S., longitude 145° 
30' E. 

On the 22d they spoke a French whaler from Hobart Town, who 
expressed much surprise at finding so small a vessel in such high 
latitudes. The captain sent a boat on board, and invited them to 
" soup" with him. 

On the 23d they made the southern island of New Zealand. On 
the 1st of March they experienced a most violent gale. The wind, 
about noon on the 29th of February, hauled to the southward and 
eastward, and by midnight it blew a gale, hauling to the eastward, 
until about 8 p. m., when its violence moderated. Their latitude 
was 40° S., longitude 178° 30' E. For several days previous to this, a 
noise was heard about the heel of the main-mast ; an examination 
was had, and the conclusion arrived at that it worked in the step, the 
wedges in the partners having been driven without obviating it. On 
the 9th of March they arrived at the Bay of Islands, where they 
found the gentlemen who had gone there to pursue their researches 
in natural history waiting our arrival. 

The Vincennes was left on the 21st of February on her way north. 
On the 22d, strong gales from the west-northwest, with snow-squalls, 

vol. ii. 96 



prevailed, and we continued to pass numerous ice-islands. The 
aurora australis had this night a beautiful and novel appearance. 
Black clouds were passing rapidly over the sky ; an orange glow of 
light seemed to cover the heavens, emanating from a point, over 
which flitted rays of the prismatic colours, directed towards the 
horizon, lighting up both edges of the clouds, and throwing them 
into bold relief. The rays seemed to dart simultaneously towards 
the horizon, on reaching which they would seem to be gathered, as if 
hy magic, towards the centre, and slowly vanish, to reappear again 
and fold up. I made a sketch of this appearance, which may in some 
measure convey an idea of it. 


Strong gales continued until the 27th, with thick misty weather. 
In the latitude of 53° S., and longitude 120° 25' E., we passed the 
last iceberg ; the sea exhibited much phosphorescence ; the tempera- 
ture- of the water was 46°. 

On the 28th, we found our variation 1° easterly, in the longitude 
of 131° 50' E., latitude 50° 30' S. ; and in attempting to get a deep- 
sea sounding of eight hundred and fifty fathoms, we lost our Six's 
thermometer by the wire parting. The sea was a deep blue ; the 
temperature 45°. We found a current setting west-northwest three- 


fourths of a knot per hour. The white object was seen at the depth 
of fifteen fathoms. 

On the 1st of March we had reached the latitude of the Royal 
Company's Isles, and I continued to run in nearly the same parallel 
for eight degrees of longitude, without seeing any signs of the sup- 
posed land. Having sailed far to the eastward of their supposed 
position, I again hauled to the northward to proceed to Hobart Town, 
Van Diemen's Land, to fill up our water. We now saw a sail, the 
first during sixty days, which made us feel as if we were returning 
to a habitable part of the globe. This night we had a brilliant 
display of the aurora australis, resembling that seen on the 9th of 
February, with this difference, that it was seen to the southward, 
extending from east-southeast to west-southwest. 

On the 5th of March the wind headed us off our course to Hobart 
Town ; I then determined to proceed direct to Sydney, and thus be 
enabled to communicate as speedily as possible with the United 
States. The consideration of getting intelligence respecting the other 
vessels, also led to this determination. I felt, in truth, forebodings 
that all was not well, from not having met any of the vessels at the 
appointed rendezvous, along the icy barrier ; and I was anxious for 
their safety, after the severe gale of the 28th of January. 

Having reached- a lower latitude, the weather had now become 
pleasant, and we could dispense with our winter clothing, — a relief 
which the whole of the crew seemed to enjoy. It was the reverse 
with me ; I had a feeling of exhaustion and lassitude that I could not 
account for, and the least exertion caused me much fatigue. 

On the 9th, we reached the latitude of Cape Howe, and were 
seventy miles to the eastward of it. We there experienced a rise in 
the temperature of the water : six degrees in less than an hour. 

On the 10th, when off Cape Jervis, and about forty miles to the 
eastward of it, we again changed the temperature from 68° to 73°, as 
we steered in for the land to the northward, but on hauling to the 
eastward it again fell to 68°. A strong southerly current has been 
long known to exist along this coast ; and I feel well satisfied that the 
thermometer is a good guide in making the passage from the south- 
ward. The coasting vessels, as I was informed at Sydney, had 
frequently made long passages from Van Diemen's Land, and South 
Australia, which I have but little doubt is owing to the prevalence of 
this minor Gulf Stream, the position of which the use of the thermo- 
meter will clearly indicate. This current will be noticed particularly 


in the chapter on currents. Its width no doubt varies with the 

On the 11th of March, at noon, we passed the Heads of Port 
Jackson, and took a pilot. We were, as a body, in better condition 
than when we left Sydney three months before. 

In an hour afterwards we dropped our anchor in Farm Cove, off 
Fort Macquarie. Our reception was flattering; scarcely was our 
anchor well down before many of our friends came on board to bid 
us welcome ; and we felt tenfold that kind hospitality which on our 
former visit we had first become acqiiainted with. They appeared 
to rejoice in our success as if we had been their countrymen. 

During our absence from Sydney, many improvements had taken 
place. The storehouses for the deposit of grain on an island in the 
harbour were in rapid progress ; the new Government-House nearly 
completed, and the foundation of an Exchange laid ; besides this, many 
improvements in town that were then in progress, had been com- 
pleted ; and the rapidity with which these works had been accom- 
plished, strongly reminded me of similar operations at home. 

The country was looking quite green and pretty ; indeed, the sail 
up the noble harbour was truly beautiful ; it wore quite a different 
face from its former parched appearance, the rains having been 
abundant during our absence. 

Observations were obtained for the rates of our chronometers, and 
the magnetic needles again experimented with. 

On overhauling my ship, the fore-topmast was found to be slightly 

It was with great pleasure I learned the safety of the Peacock ; 
for that vessel had occupied my thoughts more than the others, on 
account of the condition in which she left Sydney. All on board of 
her were well, and the vessel was undergoing repairs in Mossman's 
Cove, one of the many which this harbour forms. These coves may 
be termed wet-docks, affording as they do every facility for the repair 
of vessels of any size. They are more like artificial than natural 
basins, and are secure against any wind. There is no port in the 
world that offers so many natural advantages as Port Jackson, for a 
great naval power. We had many things to relate to each other ; 
among others, the particulars of the accident that befell the Peacock, 
that has already been noticed. The return of that vessel to this port 
now claims our attention. 

On the 28th of January, their sick-list had increased to thirteen, 


more in consequence of the fatigue the men had undergone, than 
from any disease. 

On the 29th, they experienced strong gales from the northwest, 
which continued to increase until midnight, after which the weather 
moderated. The ship during this gale was in latitude 61° 20' S., 
and longitude 154° 09' E. This gale is remarkable, in consequence 
of its blowing in a contrary direction to that which the Vincennes 
experienced on the same day ; while the former had it from the north- 
west, the latter had it from southeast. Their distance apart was four 
hundred and fifty miles, in a northeast direction. 

On the 1st of February the weather was stormy until towards 
evening, when it moderated and cleared off, with the wind to the 
northwest, and gave them a view of the aurora australis lighting up 
the southern portion of the horizon. Rays were thrown out in 
different directions, some reaching an altitude of 30°, others of 40°, 
whilst others again almost spanned the heavens. 

On the 2d, they had another display of the aurora, but contrary to 
that of the previous day, it was first seen at an altitude of 70°, 
diverging towards the horizon, from east-southeast to the west-south- 
west-by-south, before it disappeared. The point from which the 
rays diverged reached the zenith. 

On the 4th they made Macquarie Island, and shortly after passing 
it, experienced another gale from northwest to southwest, which 
caused them much anxiety for their rudder, which thus far had 
answered well, although great attention was necessary to prevent 
strain upon it. Strong gales yet continued. On the 5th, they had a 
faint display of the aurora. 

On the 7th of February, the weather had become less boisterous, 
and having reached latitude 49° S., longitude 155° 23' E., the aurora 
australis again appeared. It was first seen in the north, and gradually 
spread its coruscations over the whole heavens ; the rays and beams 
of light radiating from nearly all points of the horizon to the zenith, 
where their distinctive outlines were lost in a bright glow of light, 
which was encircled by successive flashes, resembling those of heat 
lightning on a sultry summer night ; these formed a luminous arc in 
the southern sky, about 20° in altitude, from the upper part of which, 
rays were continually flashing towards the zenith ; light showers of 
rain finally shut it out from view. On the same night, between one 
and three, the aurora burst out from the southwestern horizon, 
streaming up and concentrating in the zenith, and attended with 
vol. 11. 97 


quick flashes of every variety of tint. The wind was moderate from 
the southwest, and a squall of hail passed at the time. In latitude 
47° S. they first encountered phosphorescence in the water. On the 
17th they made the land of New South Wales, and continued to 
experience a variety of weather until the 21st, when they arrived off, 
and anchored within, the Heads of Port Jackson. 

The next day they proceeded up the harbour, and anchored off 
Sydney Cove. The ship was much shattered, but her officers and 
crew all in good health. Here they were kindly received, and no time 
was lost in proceeding to make the necessary repairs. The collector 
was kind enough to give them permission to land every thing that 
might be necessary, when and where they pleased. The powder 
and fire-works were received into the public magazine, and when 
called for were politely sent in a government boat, free of expense. 
The railway for merchant-vessels, was found too light to trust the 
Peacock upon it. Mossman's Cove, on the north shore, was then 
resorted to, not only as a convenient place for making the necessary 
repairs, but as affording more security for the crew against the crimps 
and rum-shops. 

The day after my arrival, I visited the Peacock, in order to 
examine into her condition, and could not withhold my astonishment 
that she had been able, after undergoing such damage, to reach a 
distant port. The visible injuries have already been stated, in 
speaking of her accident. On their arrival at Sydney, it was found 
that her stem had been chafed to within one and a half inches of her 
wood ends, and much strained throughout. After a full examination 
of the circumstances, I feel it a duty I owe to Captain Hudson, as 
well as to his officers and crew, to state that I am well satisfied, that 
his coolness, decision, and seamanship, with the good conduct of his 
officers and men in the perilous situation in which they were placed, 
are worthy of the highest encomiums. The preservation of the ship 
and crew, and her subsequent navigation to a distant port, reflect 
the highest credit upon her commander and upon the service to which 
he belongs. 

Sydney was now much crowded with people, and several balls 
were given, to which we had the honour of an invitation. That of the 
St. Patrick Society was attended by the chief people in the neigh- 
bourhood of Sydney, including the governor and most of the officers of 
the crown. It was given in the new court-house, and was a handsome 
and well-conducted entertainment. Two military bands were in 



attendance ; quadrilles and country dances followed each other in rapid 
succession ; rooms were provided for cards, refreshments, teas, lemon- 
ade, &c. ; and towards the close of the evening, the company was 
ushered in to an elegant supper, which was partaken of standing. 

I was struck with the beauty and general appearance of the ladies, 
though I was informed that many of the belles were absent. The 
style of the party was neither English nor American, but something 
between the two. I scarcely need remark that we were all much 
gratified and pleased. The hospitality and kindness shown us were 
of that kind that made us feel truly welcome. 

Our last week at Sydney was spent in a round of pleasure, and the 
attention we met with being entirely unexpected, was doubly grati- 
fying to us. 






Having replenished our stores of provisions, we took, with much 
regret, a final leave of our friends at Sydney. The Vincennes weighed 
anchor, and at 3 p. m. on the 19th March, we discharged our pilot, 
and bade adieu to these hospitable shores. The Peacock, not having 
completed her repairs, was left at Sydney for a few days, with orders 
to follow us to Tongataboo. 

On reaching a distance of thirty miles from the coast, we again 
found a difference of three degrees in the temperature of the water, 
and experienced the effects of a strong current towards the south. 
The wind was from the northward and eastward. 

On tbe 23d we spoke the French whale-ship Ville de Bordeaux, 
in want of provisions, which we supplied her. She had been out 
three years, and had on board four thousand barrels of oil. The 
crew was reduced to bread and water, and the vessel was apparently 
in a bad condition in other respects. 

On the 25th, in latitude 34° 24' S., longitude 160° 26' E., we ex- 
perienced a current setting to the south at the rate of twenty miles in 
twenty-four hours. 

On the 26th the current set east-southeast at the rate of twelve 
miles per day. 

The wind on the 27th hauled to south-southeast by the east, and 
became a fine breeze. 

On the 29th, we made the North Cape of New Zealand. The 
current for the two previous days had been setting north-northwest, 
and the temperature of the air varied during our passage from Sydney, 
from 63° 3', to 76° 4' ; that of the water from 70° to 72°. 

At daylight on the 30th, we made Cape Brett, and after groping 


our way through the dark, into the Bay of Islands, anchored at 
10 p. m. in the Kawa-Kawa river, opposite the residence of Mr. 
Clendon, the American consul. Here I had the satisfaction to find 
the Porpoise and Flying-Fish, and receive the reports of their cruises, 
which will be found in Appendix XXX. : they were all well on board. 
The former vessel had arrived a few days, and the latter about three 
weeks, before us. We were also gratified with the receipt of letters 
from the United States. Every exertion was made to shorten the 
duration of our stay in New Zealand, and the necessary instruments 
were landed without delay. 

Here also we met all the scientific gentlemen, — who, as has been 
stated, had been left at Sydney when the squadron sailed upon the 
Antarctic cruise, — anxiously awaiting our arrival. 

They had been forced to remain inactive at Sydney, in conse- 
quence of a change in the destination of the vessel in which they 
had first taken their passages, and, by this vexatious delay, had not 
only been prevented from pursuing further researches in New South 
Wales, but had lost time that might have been advantageously 
employed in New Zealand. They finally succeeded in finding an 
opportunity of reaching the Bay of Islands, in the British brig 

After leaving Sydney in this vessel, a sea was shipped, which, 
besides doing other mischief, entered at the cabin-windows, and filled 
the chronometer-box with salt water; in consequence of which the 
master considered it necessary to put back, in order to exchange the 
injured time-piece for another. She accordingly anchored again in 
Port Jackson. 

On the 7th February, they had a beautiful exhibition of the aurora 
australis : the coruscations were of a straw-coloured light, reaching- 
nearly to the zenith in the southern sky, and lasting from seven until 
ten o'clock. A noddy alighted on the brig, and remained on board 
many days ; so tame was it that it even suffered itself to be handled. 

On the 16th, when they had performed about half the passage, 
they had another exhibition of the aurora, much like the former; 
after which they experienced a gale of wind of five days' duration. 
On the 21st, they were enabled again to make sail, and, on the 23d, 
they made the North Cape. A gale then came on from the eastward, 
and they had a narrow escape from shipwreck while running down 
the land. On the 24th, they dropped anchor at Kororarika, about 
three miles above which place they found the United States Consul, 
Mr. Clendon, at Ornotu Point. 


From the splendid panorama of Mr. Burford, I had pictured the 
Bay of Islands to myself as a place of surpassing beauty, and I could 
not but feel gratified at the idea of paying it a visit. It did not, 
however, realize my expectations. It might, with more propriety, be 
called the Bay of Inlets. The best idea that can be given of its 
geographical features is, to liken it to an open hand with the fingers 
spread apart. The land is much indented with bays, or arms of the 
sea, running up among hills, which are nearly insulated. The 
distance between the two capes (Brett and Point Pocock) is ten 
miles, and there are several secondary bays facing this opening. 
Four rivers flow into them, the Kawa-Kawa, Kiri-Kiri, Loytangi, and 
Wycaddie, into which the tide flows a few miles, after which they 
become small streamlets, varied by some waterfalls. There are many 
minor indentations, which render it impossible to move any distance 
without a boat ; and it is often necessary to make a turn of five or six 
miles around an inlet or marsh in going to a place, which might be 
reached in one-tenth of the distance by water. 

The land has the appearance of barren hills without accompanying 
valleys, and there is so little level ground that terraces are cut in the 
hills to build the cottages on. The whole view is any thing but 
picturesque, and there is little to meet the eye except bare hills and 
extensive sheets of water. Some fine views are, however, to be met 
with from the elevated ridges, which afford occasional glimpses of the 
bay, with its islets. 

Many of our gentlemen were struck with the resemblance of this 
land to that of Terra del Fuego. Black islets and rocks, worn into 
various shapes, are found, as in that country, at all the points in the 
bay through which a boat can pass. These rocks are of a basaltic 
character. About the Bay of Islands the rock is compact and 
argillaceous, showing little or no stratification, and is for the most 
part covered with a layer of stiff clay, two or three feet thick, the 
result of its decomposition. The hills about the Bay of Islands are 
generally from three to five hundred feet high, but some of those at 
the head of the bay reach one thousand feet. The district about the 
Bay of Islands, and the northern portion of the island, may be styled 
volcanic ; for, in addition to rocks of undoubted volcanic origin, all 
the others had in a greater or less degree undergone the action of fire. 
Our naturalists were informed that the valley of the Thames was of 
a different character, although many persons represented the whole 
island as volcanic. The ridges in the northern part of the island 

vol. it. 09 


were not thought to rise more than two thousand feet. The Rev. 
Mr. Williams, missionary at Pahia, has crossed the island from Port 
Nicholson to Taaranga, during which journey he passed a district 
from which the snow was absent only four months in the year. This 
region is in the neighbourhood of the high peak of Mount Egmont, 
said, in the Sydney Almanac, but upon what authority is not stated, 
to be fourteen thousand feet high. Mr. Williams described the route 
as exhibiting volcanic phenomena on a large scale, among which 
were quantities of pumice, extending entirely across the island, and 
an extensive plain, which had sunk in one place, and disclosed a bed 
of that substance, three or four hundred feet in thickness; he like- 
wise spoke of geysers or jets of boiling water. 

The only volcano that was known to be in action, was one on a 
small island in the Bay of Plenty, on the east coast. 

The embedded minerals in the rock about the bay are quartz, iron, 
and iron pyrites. 

The hot spring of Taiaimi was visited, but it is described as rather 
an emission of gas than of water. It is situated in a stnall basin, and 
forms a lake of three or four acres in extent ; near the edge of this 
lake, gas is constantly bubbling up, usually through the water, to 
which it gives the appearance of boiling ; and gas also issues from the 
surrounding land for an extent of several acres. The water was found 
to be warm, but did not scald. The neighbouring ground was desti- 
tute of vegetation, and appeared as if the surface of the earth had 
been artificially removed. Sulphur was abundant, and there was 
also a slight incrustation of alum. The water was strongly impreg- 
nated with iron, was much discoloured, and in smell and taste not 
unlike pyroligneous acid. A quantity of gas was brought away, but 
the bottle met with an accident before it could be analyzed. It is not 
inflammable, and had it been of a deleterious nature, the fact, (from 
the quantities emitted,) could not fail to have been perceived. It had 
no smell, and appeared not to differ from atmospheric air. The 
natives attribute medical virtues to these waters. 

Twelve or fifteen miles to the westward of the Bay of Islands, near 
Taiaimi, there are several small extinct craters, rising about five 
hundred feet above the surrounding country. One of them is called 
Poerua, and is remarkable for the regular figure of its cone when seen 
from the eastward. Its western side is cut through by a deep gorge. 
The interior is covered with large forest trees and huge blocks of 
lava, while the exterior is clad in ferns of low growth. The diameter 


of the crater is about half a mile. The plain which surrounds the 
cone is composed of an uncommonly rich soil, strewed with lava, 
which the natives collect in heaps, in order to obtain space for culti- 
vation. The lava does not extend far from the cone, and even in the 
interior, rock seldom appeared, but where it was seen it proved to be 
vesicular lava. The soil in the neighbourhood of the craters is richer, 
looser, and more fit for cultivation than in other places. 

Dr. Pickering made a visit to Hokianga, on the western side of the 
island, and found that it had more of the forest character than the 
eastern. He took the direct road to Waimati, which is fifteen miles 
from the Bay of Islands. The river Waitanga was very high, and 
one of the chiefs, a large and muscular man, seemed to take particular 
interest in getting them across safe and dry; but notwithstanding his 
stature and all his care, he could not prevent a slight immersion.* 
The Doctor arrived at Waimata at 4 p. m., and was kindly welcomed 
by Mr. Davis, the Methodist missionary, to whom he had a letter of 
introduction. It was not without surprise that he found here a water- 
mill in operation, which the guides took care to point out with no 
little exultation. This, together with the fences, and well cultivated 
fields, were the work of the missionaries. He remained with Mr. 
Davis for the night, who advised his proceeding direct to Hokianga ; 
but the guides who had hitherto accompanied him were ignorant of 
the route, and another became necessary. 

The next day they passed over the flank of Te-ahooahoo, a volcanic 
cone, and the most prominent elevation in this region. A little farther 
on, a fine lake was passed, about three miles in length. At nine miles 
from Waimati, the wooded region was entered, which extended to 
Hokianga. Just before crossing the Hokianga river for the first time, 
the Baron de Thierry was met with, who was exceedingly polite. The 
road after this became difficult, it being necessary to cross the river 
repeatedly, and to follow the stream for some distance. The usual 
manner of crossing here is to be carried. The guides, under various 
pretexts, prevented them from reaching Hokianga, and they were 
compelled to stop four miles short of it, at a chief's called Tooron, of 
rather doubtful character. 

* On the banks of the Waitanga, the adult inhabitants, to the number of twenty, were 
collected in a circle, each armed with a musket, and several had been met on the way 
all armed. The cause of this unusual occurrence was not known. They are very fond 
of fire-arms, and on welcoming any one, particularly a chief, all the people of the 
village assemble and salute him with a number of rounds, in proportion to his rank. 


Tooron, with his family, had worship both morning and evening, 
as is customary with converted natives, he himself officiating. The 
accommodations were none of the best. An open shed, with fire and 
blanket, were, however, sufficient to insure a good night's rest, 
Tooron was liberally paid, and so well pleased, that he said he was 
determined to carry his guests over the river himself. The road was 
any thing but good, being miry, and filled with roots of trees, so that 
their attention was wholly engrossed in seeking a good foothold. 
The river was again repeatedly crossed. On the way they met 
natives loaded with baskets of peaches, the season for which had 
arrived. They freely offered their fruit, for which tobacco was 
returned. Before noon, they arrived at Baron de Thierry's house, 
where they were hospitably received by his lady. This house is 
situated at the head of tide-water on the Hokianga river, about thirty 
miles from its mouth, and boats can ascend as far as this place. 
There is no village at the mouth of the river, but many whites 
reside at different points on its banks. There is a bar between the 
headlands at its mouth, which will admit only of small vessels 

Our travellers had intended to return the next day, but one of their 
guides, by the name of Pooe, was missing. He had been allowed to 
take up his quarters at a short distance, on condition of his being 
ready for an early start; on inquiry, however, they were informed 
that Pooe had said he did not intend to go back until Monday, which 
was two or three days off. They departed without him, but before 
reaching Tooron's, Pooe again joined them, having a piece of pork, 
which one of his friends had furnished for the Doctor's supper. 

Mr. Davis's was reached at dark, and the same warm greeting 
experienced as before. The next day they reached the Bay of 
Islands, at Pahia. 

Pahia is the principal missionary establishment of the Episcopal 
Church. It is pleasantly situated on the bay, opposite Kororarika, 
and is the residence of all those attached to the mission, and their 
printing-presses are there. It is too much exposed to afford a good 
harbour for shipping, but as it is the most favourable side for com- 
munication with the interior, the advantages and disadvantages of its 
position are nearly balanced. 

Kororarika is still the principal settlement, and contains about 
twenty houses, scarcely deserving the name, and many shanties, 
besides tents. It is chiefly inhabited by the lowest order of 


vagabonds, mostly runaway sailors and convicts, and is appropriately 
named "Blackguard Beach." 

The appointment of the police magistrates was one of the first 
acts under the new order of things. Mr. Robert Shortland, the first 
police magistrate, after the illness of Governor Hobson, styled himself 
acting governor, and a more ridiculously pompous functionary could 
scarcely be imagined. He paid a visit to the vessel in which some 
of our gentlemen had made the passage from Sydney, and demanded 
the reason why the mail-bag had not been sent to the new govern- 
ment postmaster. The master of the vessel replied, that he thought 
it his duty, not having been informed of any change, to deliver 
them to the old postmaster, until he should be directed otherwise 
by Governor Hobson. This pompous functionary, in an improper 
tone, as well as manner, exclaimed, " I wish you to know that I am 
governor now !" In the words of one of the gentlemen, " had he been 
the viceroy of the Indies, he could not have made his inquisitions in 
tones of loftier supremacy." 

Some of our gentlemen arrived at the Bay of Islands in time to 
witness the ceremonies of making the treaty with the New Zealand 
chiefs. I mentioned, whilst at Sydney, the arrival of H. B. M. 
frigate the Druid, with Captain Hobson on board, as consul to New 
Zealand. It was well understood that he had the appointment of 
Lieutenant-Governor in his pocket, in the event of certain arrange- 
ments being made. His arrival at the Bay of Islands (in H. B. M. 
ship Herald), seemed to take the inhabitants, foreigners as well as 
natives, by surprise. A few days afterwards, on the 5th February, a 
meeting was called at the dwelling of Mr. Busby. The meeting was 
large and numerously attended by the chiefs. Many arguments and 
endeavours were used to induce them to sign a treaty with Great 
Britain, all of which were but little understood, even by those who 
were present, and had some clue to the object in view. Great 
excitement prevailed, and after five hours' ineffectual persuasion, the 
meeting broke up, every chief refusing to sign, or favour Captain 
Hobson's proposition, which was in reality nothing more or less than 
a cession of their lands, authority, and persons, to Queen Victoria. 
Among the arguments made use of, he stated that unless they signed 
the treaty, he could do nothing more than act as consul ! Nothing 
having been effected, the meeting was broken up, and the following 
Friday appointed for a second. Tobacco and pipes were given them 

VOL. II. 100 


before they departed, which restored their good humour, and they 
went away shouting. 

In the mean time, Mr. J. R. Clendon, an Englishman acting as 
American consul, the missionaries, and many interested persons 
residing there, or about becoming settlers, were made to understand 
that their interest would be much promoted if they should forward 
the views of the British government. Every exertion was now 
made by these parties to remove the scruples of the chiefs, and 
thus to form a party strong enough to overreach the rest of the 
natives, and overcome their objections. About forty chiefs, prin- 
cipally minor ones, — a very small representation of the proprietors of 
the soil, — were induced to sign the treaty. The influence of Mr. 
Clendon, arising from his position as the representative of the United 
States, was among the most efficient means by which the assent, 
even of this small party, was obtained. The natives placed much 
confidence in him, believing him to be disinterested. He became a 
witness to the document, and informed me, when speaking of the 
transaction, that it was entirely through his influence that the treaty 
was signed. 

The Lieutenant-Governor installed himself, confirmed the appoint- 
ments of a host of government officers, and the whole machinery, 
that had been long prepared, was put in motion. Proclamations 
were issued by him, extending his authority over all the English 
residents on both islands ! and it was considered by the Englishmen 
as good as law, though far otherwise by the other foreigners. After 
this, the Lieutenant-Governor proceeded to the district of the Thames 
River, or Hawraki, in the Herald, for the purpose of procuring a 
similar cession of the country; but, before this could be consummated, 
he was attacked with paralysis, and the Herald was obliged to depart 
for Sydney. 

So far as the chiefs understand the agreement, they think they 
have not alienated any of their rights to the soil, but consider it only 
as a personal grant, not transferable. In the interview I had with 
Pomare, I was desirous of knowing the impression it had made upon 
him. I found he was not under the impression that he had given up 
his authority, or any portion of his land permanently ; the latter he 
said he could not do, as it belonged to all his tribe. Whenever this 
subject was brought up, after answering questions, he invariably 
spoke of the figure he would make in the scarlet uniform and 


epaulettes that the Queen Victoria was to send him, and " then what 
a handsome man he would be !" 

Those who are not directly benefited by the change, cannot but 
view it as a disastrous circumstance for the natives, which will seal 
their doom, and make them the prey of the hosts of adventurers who 
are flocking in from all parts, some to be engaged as public officers, 
and to fatten on the coming revenues, and others as speculators. 
During our stay, a cutter arrived from Sydney, with a number of 
revenue officers, magistrates, and other minor dignitaries. 

New Zealand continued under the authority of New South Wales, 
until September, 1840, when it became a separate colony. One of 
the first acts of the new government has been, by proclamation, to 
require all those who have acquired lands by purchase from the 
natives, to exhibit their vouchers, and to show how much land they 
had purchased, and the price paid. At the same time, a committee 
was appointed to examine these claims. A few statements made 
by this committee, will show how the spirit of speculation has 
been at work in New Zealand. Up to October, 1841, they reported 
that five hundred and ninety-one claims had been entered by two 
hundred and eighty individuals; of these, there are four hundred 
and thirty-five claims, amounting to thirteen millions nine hundred 
and twenty thousand four hundred and eighty-two acres. The re- 
maining one hundred and fifty-six claims are not defined by ordi- 
nary land-marks, but are limited by degrees of latitude and longitude, 
and computed in square miles instead of acres. The last description 
of claims are considered, at a moderate calculation, to be double the 
amount of the four hundred and thirty-five claims, so that in round 
numbers the claims already sent in to the commissioners may be 
estimated at forty millions of acres. For four hundred claims, affida- 
vits have been made, and the total value of goods and money paid by 
these claimants is thirty-four thousand and ninety-six pounds. 

For one hundred and ninety -five claims, no value is stated; but if 
paid for in the same ratio, the amount will be nearly forty thousand 
pounds, or about one penny for three acres. The whole surface of 
the two islands does not contain more than eighty thousand six 
hundred square miles, or fifty millions of acres, and the largest part 
of them has not yet been sold by the natives, viz., the Waikati 
district, Rotorua and Taupo, in the interior, as well as the whole of 
the eastern coast of the northern island ; so that it will be difficult to 
find a space wherein to locate these enormous claims. 


Laws have likewise been promulgated and imposts levied, harass- 
ing to foreigners, (Americans and others,) and most destructive to 
their commercial pursuits, while they offer the most marked protec- 
tion to those of British subjects ! This would seem not a little 
unjust to those who have been resident, and extensively engaged in 
commerce, before England took possession, and whilst New Zealand 
was acknowledged as an independent state. It has, among other 
things, been enacted, — that all goods imported and remaining on hand 
on the 1st of January, 1840, the time of British assumption, shall 
pay duties ; that all lands are to be considered as belonging to the 
Queen, even those purchased of the chiefs prior to the treaty, while 
the purchasers shall be only entitled to as many acres as the amount 
paid to the chiefs will cover at the rate of five shillings per acre. 
The government in addition reserves to itself the right to such por- 
tions as it may require. Many of these purchases were made from the 
native chiefs, prior to the treaty, in good faith, and for an equivalent 
with which they were well satisfied, and so expressed themselves. 

The destructive effect of these laws on American commerce will 
be great, particularly as those engaged in mercantile pursuits find 
themselves called upon to pay heavy duties on their stocks. Ameri- 
cans are not permitted to hold property, and, in consequence, their 
whaling establishments on shore must either be broken up altogether, 
or transferred to other places at a great loss of outlay and capital. 
Our whalers are now prevented from resorting to the New Zealand 
ports, or fishing on the coast, by the tonnage duty, port charges, &c, 
are denied the privilege of disposing of any thing in barter, and 
obliged to pay a duty on American articles of from ten to five 
hundred per cent. The expenses of repairs have so much increased, 
that other places must be sought for the purpose of making them. 
The timber and timber-lands are exclusively claimed as belonging to 
Her Majesty. Thus have our citizens been deprived of a fishery 
yielding about three hundred thousand dollars annually in oil. 

Governor Hobson's proclamation will be found in Appendix XXXI. 

The expenses of this new government were estimated for the year 
1841 at £50,922 3s. Ad., sterling, which is about equal to £10 for 
each man, woman, and child ; for the whole foreign population on all 
the islands, is not supposed to be more than five thousand. The 
great precipitancy with which the islands were taken possession of, is 
said to have been owing to the fears entertained that the French 
intended forming a colony on the southern island in like manner. 


After my arrival, I gave the men liberty. Among the first who 
obtained it was John Sac, a native of New Zealand, and of the 
neighbourhood of this bay. His native name was Tuatti, and he 
was a petty chief. He had been some time absent from his country, 
and had sailed in the Expedition from the United States, was an 
excellent sailor, a very good fellow, and had been enthusiastic in the 
praise of his country and countrymen. According to him, there was 
nothing like New Zealand ; and under this feeling he hired a canoe 
to take him on shore, for which his countryman charged him three 
dollars, although half a dollar would have been an exorbitant price. 
He landed at Tibbey's, and being desirous of going to his friends, 
wished to engage a canoe to take him about ten miles up one of the 
rivers, the Kawa-Kawa, where they resided. For this conveyance he 
was asked £2, nearly a month's pay. Poor John could not submit 
to this extortion, and was found sitting on a log, greatly mortified, 
depressed, and incensed at such treatment. He felt the disappoint- 
ment, and the difference between his actual and anticipated reception. 
In this state of mind he vowed never to have any thing to do with 
his countrymen, and formed the resolution of emigrating with his 
family to Tahiti, where he himself had a wife. 

After John returned on board, he made a proposition to Mr. Wal- 
dron, in a letter, to purchase the island which he called Motugee, with 
the territory of Muckatoo, belonging to his father and family, and ex- 
pressing his belief that they were all opposed to the encroachments of 
the English, and were determined not to part with their land to them. 

At the time of my visit, which was, as has been seen, immediately 
after Captain Hobson's arrival, and the signing of the treaty, or 
cession, it was evident that full seven-eighths of the native population 
had the same feelings as John expressed in his letter. The circum- 
stances that have occurred at New Zealand fully prove the necessity 
of having American citizens as our consuls abroad. Mr. J. R. 
Clendon, our consul at New Zealand, an independent state, and 
the only representative of a foreign power whose interest was at 
stake, was consulted by some of the most powerful and influential 
chiefs, who had refused to sign the treaty or cession to Great Britain. 
They came to Mr. Clendon for advice, how they should act, and he 
admitted that he had advised them to sign, telling them it would be 
for their good. He himself signed the treaty as a witness, and did 
all he could to carry it into effect ; but, in doing this, he said he had 
acted as a private citizen, by request of the Governor, thus separating 

VOL. II. 101 



his public duties from his private acts. At the same time he buys 
large tracts of land, for a few trifles, and expects to have his titles 
confirmed as Consul of the United States. This is not surprising, 
and any foreigner would undoubtedly have pursued the same course ; 
for his personal interest was very great in having the British autho- 
rity established, while the influence he had over the chiefs w T as too 
great not to attract the attention of the Governor, and make it an 
object to secure his good-will and services. 

The prospects of these islanders are, in my opinion, any thing but 
pleasing, and the change by no means calculated to insure their 
happiness, or promote their welfare. It seems to have been brought 
about, by a rage for speculation, and a desire to take possession of this 
country, in order to secure it from the French. The idea that it was 
necessary to extend the laws of New South Wales over the island, in 
order to protect the natives, and break up the nest of rogues that had 
taken refuge there, is far from being true. No such necessity 
existed, for there was no difficulty in having any one apprehended 
by sending officers for the purpose, or offering a reward. 

The New Zealand Land Company have been the secret spring of 
this transaction, and under the shelter of certain influential names, 
the managers have contrived to blind the English public. It will 
scarcely be believed that the New Zealand Land Company had 
disposed of several thousand shares of land before they purchased 
an acre. Some three or four thousand emigrants who had purchased 
allotments, left England on their way to take possession of them, just 
after the agent. Upon their arrival they could obtain no satisfactory 
information respecting their allotments, and were left in a destitute 
condition, to spend the few earnings they had left, and to endure all 
the privations to which people landed in a new country are subject. 

E ven of those allotments that have been given out, many are not 
susceptible of cultivation. It is scarcely to be believed that the high 
names which stand at the head of this Company could have been 
informed of the true state of things ; yet it is generally supposed in 
this part of the world, that it is by their exertions and influence that 
the British government has been induced to take forcible possession 
of the territory of an independent state, which New Zealand undoubt- 
edly was. However this may be, the speculators have succeeded in 
their object, and the country will now be retained by England even 
if a military power should be necessary. Should the New Zealanders 
resist, and they are a warlike race, yet acting against European dis- 


cipline, they will readily be overcome. They are not unlike grown 
children, and may be more easily ruled by kindness, and by satisfying 
the wants of the chiefs, than by force. The population will soon 
disappear before the whites, for the causes that have operated else- 
where are to be seen in action here, where the savage is already 
sinking imperceptibly before the advances of civilization. While 
philanthropy, real or pretended, is ransacking the globe to find sub- 
jects for its benevolence, it seems a little surprising that scarcely a 
voice has been raised in Parliament against this act of usurpation. 

On the 29th of February, 1840, there was a violent gale at the Bay 
of Islands, said by the missionaries to have been the severest they had 
experienced, with perhaps the exception of one which took place 
shortly after their arrival. Many vessels suffered great damage. 
The Thorn, of Sag Harbour, which sailed a few days before, bound 
home, was obliged to put back, and in consequence of the damage 
received, was condemned as unseaworthy, as was also the Tuscan, an 
English whaler. The barque Nimrod arrived, having lost her top- 
masts ; and several coasters were missing, supposed to have been lost. 
Most of the vessels lying off Kororarika dragged their anchors, but 
they suffered less from not being much exposed : the Harriet was 
driven ashore at Tipoona, a few miles to the eastward, near Point 
Pocock ; this vessel parted her cables during the night, and the next 
morning was found a complete wreck. The crew barely escaped 
with their lives. Besides these disasters on the water, those on the 
land were also great: fences were carried away, houses deluged, 
grounds overflowed, wharves injured, and the extensive embankment 
of the missionary establishment at Pahia nearly demolished. The 
tide rose six feet, during the night of Saturday, beyond its usual 
mark, which caused most of the damage. 

This gale was experienced at the Thames on board H. B. M. ship 
Herald, one hundred and forty miles to the south; also by the Flying- 
Fish, off Cook's Straits, and by the barque Achilles, to the north. Mr. 
Hale was a passenger in the last named vessel, and took barometrical 
observations and notes during the continuance of the gale. 

From the observations, it appears that the changes took place at 
the two northern and two southern positions, in opposite directions, 
proving that the gale was a rotary one, and that its centre must have 
passed between the Bay of Islands and the river Thames. The 
greatest force of the gale was between the hours of 1 and 3 a. m., on 
the 1st of March. At the Bay of Islands, a calm was observed by Mr. 




Dana and others, which lasted fifteen minutes, after which the wind 
rapidly hauled round to the westward, and blew with increased 
violence. On board the Herald, the barometer fell to 28-75 in. ; and 
from the fact of the gale having been experienced first to the north- 
ward and eastward, it is certain that it came from that quarter, and 
passed over New Zealand in a southwest direction : the width of the 
track was about five hundred miles. The particulars of the preceding 
observations will be found in the Meteorological Report. 

Although the land about the Bay of Islands is much cut up by 
indentations, yet from this circumstance it affords many pretty views, 
which have in some respects an appearance of an advance towards 
civilization, that one hardly expects to find within the scope of the 
residences of these savages. 

One of the many sketches Mr. Agate made, will serve to convey an 
idea of their beauty, as well as a distant view of their pas. 

Foreign residents have established themselves in many places, and 
on all the inlets or arms of the Bay of Islands their cottages are to be 
seen, occupying the points and coves. 

On the north, the British resident, Mr. Busby, has built a large and 
commodious cottage, and commenced laying out his grounds in town 
lots for the future city of Victoria, of which there was a public sale 
previous to our arrival. All the lots were, I believe, purchased on 


speculation, for after seeing the locality, one must be convinced that 
it offers no advantages for more than a village, if indeed for that. 
More to the westward is situated Pahia, the mission establishment. 
For commercial purposes, the south or Kororarika shore offers the 
greatest advantages, having the deepest water, and being the most 
sheltered from the stormy winds. 

The extent to which speralation has raised the prices of land in 
this neighbourhood is almost incredible. Mayew's Point, the first 
above Kororarika Bay, has on it a few storehouses, which are rented 
for six hundred pounds ($3,000) a-year. 

Mr. Clendon, the American consul, for about three hundred and 
twenty-five acres, of which only fifty are level, has received thirty 
thousand pounds from the British government, reserving to himself 
the remainder, one hundred acres. He bought the whole for a trifle 
a few years ago. The location is a pretty one, on a hill about three 
hundred feet high, and is, perhaps, the most commanding spot on 
these waters. The neatness of his cottage and of the grounds about 
it, adds much to its pleasing appearance. 

The introduction of a Sydney police at Kororarika has been of 
service to that place, for they have dealt in a summary manner with 
the vagabonds who formerly frequented it. 

A Roman Catholic bishop is established here, who has a chapel, 
and it was said, was making many converts ; but it was supposed 
that the principal inducement to conversion was the liberality with 
which he and his associates bestowed gifts and presents upon those 
who joined in their prayers and received the cross. 

Besides the Episcopal mission, under the Reverend Mr. Williams, 
formerly a lieutenant in the British navy, there is a Wesleyan mission 
at Hokianga, which is highly spoken of. Many reports have been 
put in circulation by the evil disposed, in relation to these missions ; 
but as far as my observations went, they seemed exemplary in 
their duties; they were also occupied in farming, in which native 
labourers were employed. Mr. Williams having a large family 
growing up, many of them obtained farms, and are now in the 
successful occupation of them. There is no doubt the hue and cry 
against the father, and that the mission had obtained all the best land 
from the natives, arose from this cause. Some circumstances were 
remarked, from which it was evident that the interests of the natives 
were looked after by the missionaries, who protected their lands and 

vol. ii. 102 


induced them not to sell to the emigrants, who would otherwise have 
found them only too ready to part with them. 

It is true that the situation of these missionaries of the Church of 
England is different from that of any we had heretofore seen, and 
equally so that they do not appear to have succeeded as well in 
making proselytes as those in the other Polynesian islands ; but I 
am persuaded that they have done and are still endeavouring to do 
much good. They are, however, separated, as it were, from their 
flocks, and, consequently, cannot have that control over their beha- 
viour that would be desirable. Many scenes, therefore, take place 
at the pas or strongholds, that might be prevented if the mission- 
aries mingled more with their converts. 

Mr. Williams was kind enough to have divine service at the house 
where our naturalists stayed, — Mr. Tibbey's. I was not a little 
surprised when I heard that Mr. Williams had refused any oppor- 
tunity to our philologist to inspect a grammar of the New Zealand 
language, that was then going through the press. I mention the 
circumstance as remarkable, from being the only instance of the kind 
that occurred to us during the cruise ; and it cannot be easily imagined 
what could have been the cause of his refusal, for a very short period 
after our departure it would be published, and there could have been 
no fear of his being forestalled by us. 

Among the natives the taboo is yet law, though endeavours are 
making to introduce other laws among them. It was told me, on 
good authority, that there had been a trial for murder by a jury of 
chiefs at or near Hokianga, under the direction of a white man, but 
there was great reason to believe that the person did not receive that 
impartial justice which a duly organized court would have assured 
him. The evidence was said to have been deficient, but the current 
belief being against him, he was notwithstanding shot. 

The natives, we were told, were not a little surprised at the 
summary way in which justice, or rather punishment, is dealt out by 
the magistrate of Kororarika. 

Their taboo laws are very strict, and carefully observed, even 
among those who are considered Christians. The chief, Tomati, 
refused to enter the house of a person whom he took Mr. Hale to 
visit ; for if he had entered, it would have become tabooed ; and the 
native law, which does not permit any man to enter a house in which 
a chief has resided, even temporarily, would have compelled him to 


abandon his dwelling. Women alone are allowed to enter the houses 
of chiefs. An instance of this was witnessed at the pa of Pomare, 
and another where we attempted to purchase the prow of a canoe. 
This prow, which was elaborately carved to represent some non- 
descript animal, with a human head, having the tongue protruded, 
was accidentally seen in an out-of-the-way storehouse, and was some- 
what mutilated ; it had belonged to the late chief Kiwikiwi, and was 
tabooed in the first degree. Overtures were made to the widow of 
Kiwikiwi for its purchase ; it was evidently considered very sacred, 
for none of the natives would touch it, or even enter the store-house 
in which it was kept. Notwithstanding all its sacredness, it was 
sold, after a little chaffering, for six dollars. The first price asked was 
two pounds, but the widow could not resist the chance of its sale. 
After the bargain was concluded, no native could be found willing to 
incur the penalty of the taboo, by carrying it. When the transporta- 
tion was accomplished, a new and unexpected difficulty arose : it 
could not be carried across the water in a canoe, as it was against 
taboo to do it. The threat of making them refund the money, 
and take back the ihu or nose, so worked tipon the covetousness of 
old Kawiti the chief, that he consented to remove it, and also pro- 
mised to come the next day and paint it red, after the native fashion. 
This he punctually performed, using a kind of red earth mixed with 
water. This is represented in the tail-piece at the end of this chapter. 

The taboo is always resorted to, to protect their kumara-patches, 
and the fear of breaking it was strongly shown by the intrusion of 
Mr. Tibbey's goats into the kumara-patch of Pomare, near his pa. 
No one could be induced to go in to drive them out, for fear of 
punishment, and a message was sent to the chief to allow them to be 
expelled. After the permission was given, the natives could not be 
induced to enter by any other place but that where the goats had 
broken through. 

The natives, for the most part, have their permanent residence in 
towns, or what are here termed "pas," which are generally built on 
high promontories, or insiilated hills, and fortified in a rude fashion, 
with a palisade of upright stakes, about ten feet high ; the houses or 
huts are all built closely together. 

Pomare's pa being near our anchorage, was frequently visited. It 
contained about three hundred huts. There was a main entrance 
through the palisade, near which are two posts, the tops of which are 
carved into distorted representations of the human figure. 




Within the main enclosure are other enclosures, each containing 
five or six houses, with alleys of two feet wide, that traverse the town. 
Their houses are very simply constructed : four corner-posts are 
driven into the ground, and left from two to five feet above the 
surface ; in the centre line two or three strong posts are firmly set in 
the ground, to support the ridge-pole of the roof; on the posts is 
placed and lashed a horizontal beam for the rafters to rest upon, and 
smaller poles are lashed to the posts, at one foot apart, from the 
ground up ; on these the roofing is worked : the material used in 
thatching is the rush (Typha latifolia), or our common cattail. The 
manner of making the roof is to tie the materials on the horizontal 
strips or poles, setting the larger ends on the ground, and driving 
them close against each other, generally with the fist, and so on until 
all is closed in, leaving doorways under the eaves, at the gable-ends ; 
the rappooing is then cut square off at the upper horizontal beam, or 
plate-piece, and the roof is put on, made of the same material, 
and generally thatched with it or fern. The roofs have usually but 
little pitch, which gives a squat look to the houses. Mats are 
generally hung up at the doorways, but some have doors made of 
pine ; they are low, obliging one to stoop or creep in entering. 
Around their houses they have usually peach trees growing, but 
nothing else is cultivated about them. 

The furniture consists of mats, a few baskets and trinkets, an old 
chest to lock them up in, an iron pot, and a double-barrelled gun, 
generally of the best maker. 



sJ^T" Wtj^lL SET**: 

Pomare's house was about twenty feet long by twelve broad ; from 
five to eight feet high. The mode of construction was the same as 
above described, with the exception that the rafters were flat and orna- 
mented with arabesque work, drawn with soot or black pigment. The 
posts were likewise carved ; but from the dirt and filth with which 
they were covered, it was difficult, if not impossible, to decipher 
them. It is said that the New Zealanders have improved in the art 
of building since they were first visited, but they are still in this 
respect far behind any of the islanders we have visited. 

Four of our gentlemen, before my arrival, had paid Pomare a 
visit, and made him some presents, which, so far from satisfying his 
cupidity, only made him more covetous. On receiving a watch- 
chain, he asked for the watch ; and could not be induced to exhibit a 
dance, unless each person presented him with a shilling. This 
exaction was submitted to, though they were disgusted and disap- 
pointed with the greediness he manifested. The dance proved very 
similar to those seen among the Samoans and Tahitians, with the 
same tossing of the arms and legs, and various contortions of the 

vol. ii. 103 


body, performed by a number of men and women. The only music 
was that of the voice, two or three singing in a high monotonous key. 
The dance was, however, seen to disadvantage by candlelight. 

On the top of the hill is a sacred enclosure, or Kianga-taboo, in 
which is erected the tombs of the chiefs. A few days before our visit 
one was interred here, the vignette represents the tomb. 

This tomb is formed of a small canoe, cut across through the 
middle, and the two parts joined face to face, forming a hollow cone, 
about seven or eight feet long. The corpse is placed inside, in a 
sitting posture, and would remain there a year, after which the bones 
would be carried up the river, and, as Charley Pomare expressed it, 
would be "thrown away any where." 

The tomb is painted red, and ornamented with feathers on each 
side, from the ground to the top ; it is covered with a small shed, to 
protect it from the weather, and enclosed all around with a fence. 
The funeral ceremonies were not witnessed, but, from the description 
of the natives, were very noisy, and accompanied with firing of many 
guns, — a general practice on all public occasions. Their faces and 
arms bore evident marks of their having been engaged in the cere- 
mony, being covered with scratches which they had inflicted on 

The pas of the natives are not in reality strong places, but are 
little more than insulated and commanding situations. Pomare 
makes some show of warlike instruments, in the formidable array of 
tbree ten-pounders, all of them in bad condition, though looked at 
and spoken of by the natives with no small pride and conceit. The 
natives, in time of peace, do not live constantly in these pas, but 
are mostly occupied at their plantation-grounds ; for which reason 
only a few men were seen lounging about in front of their houses. 
The women were generally engaged in making and plaiting mats, or 
cooking, and the men seemed the greater idlers. 

Their native dress consists of mats of various kinds, made of the 
native flax (Phomax), which are braided by hand, and are, some of 
them, finer than carpeting, while others are as coarse as our corn-leaf 
mats. The latter were worn by the women while at work, tied 
around the hips, and sometimes over the shoulders. They carry 
their children on the back, like our Indians. 

The men were more luxurious in their dress, having fine mats, 
nearly as large in size as our blankets, ingeniously and beautifully 
wrought, and sometimes embroidered. Both of these kinds are still 

II # 

Hill ^mmm: WiT^tt >■■ 

,- :"--V?^/ i'. L 




worn, though they are gradually disappearing, and the dress is 
becoming more European, or rather Tahitian. The women now 
often wear loose slips of calico, drawn about the neck, which are any 
thing but becoming, while the men have coarse clothing, sometimes 
a dirty white blanket, at others, different parts of European dress. 
The blanket is worn in the same manner as the native " kakahu." 



They never think it necessary to use clothing for a covering ; it is 
worn more from pride and ostentation than any thing else ; and not 
unfrequently a native may be seen decked out in a coat and vest 
without any covering on his nether limbs, and occasionally with a 
pea-jacket and no shirt. That which gives a foreigner a peculiar 
disgust to the persons of the New Zealanders, is their filth, which 
also pervades their houses. They seldom, if ever, bathe themselves, 
or wash their clothes, which are usually worn until they drop off 
from age. They occasionally anoint their skins with fish-oil, and 
of course cannot be expected to keep themselves clean. 

To their houses, the description of Cook still applies : they are 
small, low, begrimed with soot, besmeared with grease, and are filled 
with filth. As yet, their furniture has received no addition from their 
intercourse with the whites, except the huge sea-chest and iron 
pot : the former to deposit their valuables in, and the latter for cook- 
ing. It was remarked by us all, how few of the grotesque figures, so 


much spoken of by voyagers, were to be seen. There appeared to 
be little carving recently done, in comparison with former times. 
They are said to have improved in the construction of their houses ; 
but there is still great room for improvement, before they can vie 
with any of the other islanders we have visited. Their food consists 
principally of the potato, fish, kumara, or sweet-potato, Indian corn, 
and fern-root, which is found throughout the country. The kumara 
is much smaller and inferior in quality to those grown in the other 
Polynesian isles. Here it is a small watery root, and is generally 
disliked by foreigners. It is preserved in houses constructed for the 
purpose, to prevent the depredations of the rats. These are built on 
four posts, which are scraped exceedingly smooth, and are only 
entered by a single slanting post. One of these houses is represented 
in the drawing. The roots are also suspended beneath these houses 
in large baskets. 

Fish are taken with hooks and nets, and are dried and laid by for 
use. They also eat a clam, which they call pipi. Hogs and poultry 
are raised in abundance, for their own use and the supply of ships. 
They have, as I before stated, peaches, as well as many small berries, 
and iti a few years they will have all the fruits of the temperate zone 
introduced by settlers. They formerly ate their fish raw, or cooked 
with the kumara, after the Polynesian fashion, in the ground, with 
hot stones ; but now they use an iron pot, in which all their food is 
boiled together. They have a great fondness for rice, with sugar or 
molasses. They do not want for food, for their country is well 
supplied with wild roots, which in case of necessity or scarcity can 
be resorted to. They also make a pleasant beverage, resembling 
spruce-beer, which they call wai-maori. 

The greatest changes which have taken place in their customs are 
the introduction of the use of fire-arms, and the adoption of whale- 
boats instead of their canoes. The latter are without an out-riof<jer, 
and differ in this respect from the boats of all the other Polynesians 
south of the equator. They have also adopted the square sail (which 
generally consists of a blanket), in place of the triangular one 
common to all Polynesia. 

The ornaments of the New Zealanders are few ; those of the men, 
who are chiefs, generally consist in an elaborate tattooing, that gives 
a striking appearance to the face; the regularity with which it is 
done is wonderful. They all have their ears bored, and have small 
rings in them, made of jade or shark's-teeth, tipped with sealing-wax, 


or small bright-coloured feathers. Around the necks of the chiefs 
and their wives is hung their "heitiki," made of a stone of a green 
colour, which is held very sacred, and which, with their " meara," — a 
short cleaver or club, — is handed down from father to son. The 
heitiki has some resemblance to a human figure, sitting with crossed 
legs. This stone is procured from the southern island, near the 
borders of a small lake, which receives its name from the stone, being 
called Tewai Pounamu or the Green-stone Water. From the name 
of this stone, Cook, by mistake, gave the name of Tavy Poenammoo 
to the southern island. It is also supposed that Captain D'Urville's 
name of Ika-na-maw (meaning, the fish out of Mawi), given by him to 
the northern island, may also be the name of some place on the 
northern side of Cook's Straits. Those who are acquainted with the 
natives and their language say, that they have no native name for 
either of the islands, or any part of the country, and have adopted 
into their language the names given by the whites, with modifications 
to suit their tongue. 

It was a long time before Pomare would consent to his wife parting 
with the heitiki which she wore, and that belonging to himself (his 
atua) he would not allow us to take off his neck, even to look at. Our 
consul interpreted for me a singular story that the southern natives 
had invented, relative to these stones : " That they were found in a 
large fish, somewhat resembling a shark, which they were obliged to 
capture and kill for the purpose of obtaining them. When first taken 
from the stomach of the fish the stone is soft, but from exposure 
becomes hard, and must be wrought in its soft state." This story 
was related by Pomare. The smaller stones were about three inches 
in length, and the lamer ones about five inches. 

Pomai'e is a fine-looking man, and is handsomely tattooed. He is 
six feet in height, and well formed, with the exception of his feet and 
legs. His dress was any thing but becoming : a blanket was tied 
about his neck, and hung ungracefully about his person, leaving his 
right arm free ; beneath this he wore a shirt and loose pair of drawers, 
descending to his knees ; the rest of his person and his feet were bare. 
In his hand he usually carries a short cloak of dogskin, called topuni, 
shupuni, or patutu. These short cloaks, are in shape, not unlike those 
of the knights in ancient times : they are about three feet long, being 
formed of common cloth, mat, or sewed dogskin, dressed with the hair 
on. Pomare's dress was surmounted by a blue naval cap, with a 
gold-lace band. The tattooing may gh r e his features somewhat of a 

vol. 11. 104 


fierce aspect, and serve to disguise the expression, yet I cannot but 
believe that his true feelings are developed in it. His face indicates 
any thing but a kingly character. Perhaps his reputation for busi- 
ness may have something to do with the impression his physiognomy 
produced. He told me he had two wives, but it-is generally believed 
that thirty would be nearer the truth. The favourite one usually 
accompanies him ; she is highly spoken of for her good sense, and 
Pomare is said to place much confidence in her judgment. She was 
the best-looking native I saw in New Zealand, but would not be 
called handsome elsewhere. The missionaries have not yet been 
able to produce any effect upon Pomare or the family connected with 
him. Pomare' s chief warrior is Mauparawa, who has been persuaded 
to remain with him, although a native of Hauaki, on the river 

Mauparawa is a much finer-looking man than Pomare, — in appear- 
ance a very Hercules ; but the effects of dissipation are beginning to be 
perceived in his powerful frame. He has long been a favourite with the 
whites, who admire him for his prowess. Many of his followers came 
with him to join Pomare, of whom few are now left ; for in an expe- 
dition last year he lost almost all of them : having landed on Aoteu 
or Barrier Island, he was overpowered and badly wounded, barely 
escaping with life. One of his acts of daring took place in the last 
feuds with the Kororarikans, by whom he was much detested. 
Wishing to put a disgrace upon them and show his contempt, he one 
night took his canoe, and with six of his followers left Pomare's pa 
or stronghold for Kororarika, the heart of his enemies' strength. He 
landed there in the midst of his foes, whom he found fast asleep. 
Drawing up his canoe on the beach, he went to the house of a white 
man, whom he awoke, and ordered him to give himself and followers 
some spirits, threatening him, in case of refusal, with instant death. 
They took their spirits quietly, desiring the man to say to the Koro- 
rarikans in the morning, that Mauparawa had been there in the 
night, with some insulting message ; but before leaving, it occurred 
to him that the man would not have the courage to tell of his visit : 
he therefore determined to leave his own canoe, (which was very well 
known,) and take a whale-boat in its stead. All of which was done 
merely to throw a slur upon his enemies, at the risk of his own life. 

Another person of some note, is a cousin of Pomare's, called 
Charley Pomare, the son of the former ruling chief of that name. 
Hoia, the brother of the king, appears to be a stupid fellow. Charley 


Pomare was very talkative, and although young, appears well- 
informed in the history of the island, and is quite intelligent. In his 
accounts, he dwells particularly on the extensive ravages committed 
by Shougi, who I believe was taken or went to Europe. After his 
return, finding he had lost influence in his tribe, in order to regain it, 
he committed some of the most barbarous cruelties that have ever 
disgraced these islands, and made his name terrible among the tribes. 
Most of these, before his wars, had from three hundred to one 
thousand warriors, but only a few now remain in some of those who 
were formerly powerful and independent, and who being from their 
weakness unable to contend by themselves, have become incorporated 
with other tribes. The reason that the natives give for this diminu- 
tion is, that Shougi had killed them all. His conquests embraced 
nearly all the northern part of the north island, whose warriors he 
then united, and led against the people of the south, about Hauaki, 
on the river Thames. With these he waged a long and bloody war, 
and extended the name of Ngapuhi, which properly belongs to the 
people about the Bay of Islands, as far south as Kiapara. His death, 
which happened a few years since, was a great relief both to his 
followers and foes. 

The last war took place in 1837, about two years before our arrival. 
It was, in all probability, the last native contest that will be waged. 
It was caused by the disappearance of a woman of Otuiha, whom 
the tribe of Kororarika were suspected and accused of having killed 
and eaten. Formidable preparations were made, and the allies on 
both sides called in ; the people of Kororarika being aided by the 
forces from Hokianga. The principal battle was fought in a piece of 
marshy ground between Waikereparu and Otuiha. Here Pomare, 
better known by the name of Charley, then quite a boy, led the 
forces of Otuiha, while those of Kororarika were marshalled by Pi, 
a great chief of Hokianga ; and the fight was terminated by Charley 
first shooting Pi, and then the second chief, who was endeavouring to 
save the body, with his double-barrelled gun. The heads of the 
warriors were cut off, and preserved as trophies, while their bodies 
were left on the ground. They were not eaten, though the Hokianga 
people are said to be cannibals. This latter imputation, however, 
should be received with caution, as the information was derived from 
their enemies. 

From all I could learn, Pomare is not deemed very courageous, 
and was not himself engaged in the fight. He is looked upon as quite 
avaricious, and as a great coward ; he is much addicted to liquor. It 


will, perhaps, excite surprise to learn how he came to exercise the 
influence he does over his countrymen ; it is entirely owing to his 
eloquence, by which he is enabled to lead them any where. When 
Charley was asked the cause of his uncle's influence, he said that 
Pomare could lead the people wherever he chose ; and to the question 
as to why he himself was not king, he answered, " Oh, that is 
maori" (country fashion). 

Some of the gentlemen visited the pa of Pomare, for the purpose 
of witnessing his return from a visit to one of his allies. The canoe 
was seen coming up the bay, paddled by forty-five natives, and on 
the side of the hill all the people of the pa were collected, shouting, 
waving their garments, and firing muskets, to welcome their friends. 
When the chief touched the shore, a curious scene ensued. All the 
boatmen seized their paddles, and ran some distance along the beach, 
where they halted, and formed themselves into a compact body, in 
martial array. Those of the pa did the same, and were stationed 
in front of the canoe ; the former party then returned, and when near, 
the latter made simultaneously, ten or twelve leaps directly upward, 
waving their paddles over their heads, and giving at each jump, a 
hard guttural sound, like hooh. The two parties then changed 
positions, when the boatmen went through the same motions, after 
which the whole mingled together. This ceremony was supposed to 
represent that used on the return of a war-party. Pomare was found 
shortly afterwards seated in front of his house, surrounded by his 
people, who were busily engaged in preparing a great feast, for which 
he was giving directions, and which shortly took place, accompanied 
by much merry-making. 

The chief, Pomare, on one occasion paid a visit to the gentlemen 
of the squadron at Mr. Tibbey's, with some fish for sale, and for 
which he had been fishing- several hours. He first asked a shilling 
for them, which was handed to him, when he immediately raised his 
price to two shillings, and when this was refused, he went away in 
high dudgeon, and complained to me on my arrival, that he had not 
been treated well. Many instances of the same kind occurred. 

Mr. Hale induced Hoia, Pomare's brother, to give him a list of the 
various clans of the great Yopaki tribe, which under Shougi had 
formerly been the terror of all New Zealand From this and other 
authorities, the number of the tribes were given at one hundred and 
five, in which were comprised upwards of sixty thousand fighting 
men. Those who are more acquainted, and have the best oppor- 
tunities of knowing, state the population at less than three hundred 


thousand ; there are others who rate the population from thirty to 
forty thousand. A mean between the two estimates would be nearer 
the truth. From the information I received, I am satisfied that it 
cannot be great. The population of both islands is said to amount 
to from one hundred and forty to one hundred and eighty thousand, 
and the whole of this number are on the north island, with the 
exception of three or four thousand who live on the southern island. 
It is remarkable that every tribe has a name peculiar to itself, and 
distinct from the district which it inhabits : thus the natives of 
Kororarika are called Yaitawake; those of Hauaki (the river Thames), 
Ngaitawake ; and with few exceptions these names begin with the 
syllable of Nga or Ngati — most commonly the latter. These names 
are thought to have reference to clanship. The members of each 
tribe appear to be all connected by the ties of consanguinity. 

Some of our naturalists made a visit to a town called Wangarara, 
situated near the coast, about thirty miles to the southward of Cape 
Brett. They passed up the Wycaddie river eleven miles to Wycaddie 
Pa. Here they found a missionary station, occupied by a Mr. Baker ; 
but none of the family were at home. The old chief of Wycaddie 
was very indignant, and treated them quite uncivilly, because they 
were going to Wangarara. After procuring a guide, they set out 
on foot for that place. The distance is twelve miles, which they 
accomplished by sunset. The road lay over mountains. The 
village of Wangarara consists of four or five miserable huts, or what 
would more properly be designated kennels, made in the rudest 
manner, and thatched with fern-leaves. In order to enter these, they 
were obliged to crawl on their hands and knees. The furniture of 
the chief's house consisted of a few mats, two or three fishing-nets, 
and an old chest. A fire was smoking in the centre to keep out the 
musquitoes, and the resemblance to a smoke-house was striking ; or, 
perhaps, the latter would have suffered by the comparison. The 
accommodations in this hut were rather confined and crowded ; for 
besides themselves, there were three runaway sailors as guests. 
They, therefore, gladly accepted the invitation of the chief Ko- 
towatowa, who was on a visit here, to accompany him to his hut, at 
the mouth of the bay. They went with him in his fine large canoe, 
and reached his residence late in the evening, where they found 
themselves much more comfortably accommodated, having clean mats 
and a good supper of pigeons and potatoes. This was Ko-towatowa's 
principal farm. His pa is situated a few miles up the bay, on a 

vol. n. 105 



rocky point, and contains one hundred and fifty houses. It was, at 
the time of their visit, nearly deserted, in consequence of the attention 
demanded by their crops ; and this is the case with nearly all the 
other pas at this season. 

This part of the country is flat, and has a good soil ; and here 
Ko-towatowa raises most of his potatoes and kumaras, which are larger 
and better than those raised at the Bay of Islands. They also raise 
a good supply of Indian corn, and are at no loss for food, which was 
evident from the quantities of dried as well as fresh fish which were 

A great difference was perceived between the natives of this place 
and those of the Bay of Islands. The former have had little or no 
communication with foreigners, their manners are more simple, and 
they have little or no idea of the conventional value of money. The 
people of this place appeared more virtuous and happy, and a number 
of young women were seen, good-looking, sprightly, and full of 


They here saw the old chief of Wangarara, grand-uncle to Ko-to- 
watowa. He was very feeble, with white hair, and clad in an old 
dog-skin robe. He was observed to sit all day on a small mound of 
dirt and pipi-shells; having lately lost a relation, he, according to 
custom, is tabooed for the season. He does not help himself, 
and is not allowed to touch any thing with his hands : his grand- 
daughter, a sprightly girl, waits upon him ; and it was pleasing 
to witness the watchfulness she evinced in attending to his wants, 


often filling and lighting his pipe, and holding it in his mouth while 
he smoked. Notwithstanding the promising appearance of Ko-towa- 
towa's house and premises, it was found swarming with fleas and 
other vermin. Ko-towatowa is a member of the Episcopal Church, 
and daily performed worship in his native tongue. After their morn- 
ing meal, they began their rambles, but had not proceeded far before 
they were met by a large party of natives, who kept saying to them, 
"walk about one hilling," by which they soon understood that they 
were required to pay one shilling for the privilege of walking on the 
beach and picking up shells : on Ko-towatowa's being appealed to, he 
soon dispersed them. On a hill, near this place, Mr. Drayton found 
a beautiful specimen of Bulimus Shougii. 

Wangarara Bay is a deep indentation in the coast, to which it runs 
parallel, and is separated from the ocean by a narrow belt of high 
and rocky land. It is said to have good anchorage for a distance of 
six miles from its mouth. The entrance is very deep, free from 
danger, and about one mile wide. It is a much safer port than the 
Bay of Islands. A vessel might pass by its entrance without sus- 
pecting that a harbour existed. Provisions of all kinds are much 
cheaper and better than at the Bay ; and although the natives are 
aware of this difference, yet not being able to transport their provi- 
sions there, they are content to dispose of them for a less price. 

Their kind friend Ko-towatowa took them back to Wangarara, 
stopping on the way at his pa, where he presented them with quan- 
tities of peaches, which had been tabooed to his people. At Wanga- 
rara they again found their guide, and the two old chiefs, — the elder of 
whom was called Kawau, and the other, a little younger, Ruahenna : 
both of them have the character of being great rascals. The contrast 
between them and Ko-towatowa was very much to their disparage- 
ment. With some reluctance, they ordered a pot of potatoes to be 
boiled ; but when night came, they positively refused entrance into 
their huts unless each gave a shilling, to which Ko-towatowa sternly 
objected, saying that they were his guests, and should not pay. A 
quarrel between the chiefs ensued, and the only way it was prevented 
from going to extremity, was to slip the money quietly into old 
Kawau's hand ; after which, peace was restored, and they retired for 
the night, where they were effectually tormented by the fleas and 
vermin. Ko-towatowa, on taking leave of them, refused any com- 
pensation for his services ; but a pressing invitation to pay them a 
visit at the Bay was accepted. 


They returned by the same route, and by noon reached Wy caddie 
Pa. It contains about two hundred houses, and is situated between 
two small fresh-water streams. This is the most cleanly and exten- 
sive town in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Islands. Mr. Baker, 
of the Episcopal Mission, has settled here : he has many acres of land, 
and comfortable dwellings, farms extensively, and has about twenty 
head of cattle, with good pasture for them. The natives also possess 
some cattle. By night they reached their lodgings. 

One who has long known the New Zealanders, and on whose 
judgment reliance may be placed, gives them credit for intelligence 
and generosity, and says that they are hospitable and confiding to 
strangers, persevering where the object concerns themselves, strongly 
attached to their children, and extremely jealous of their connubial 
rights. A violation of the latter is punished with death, not only to 
the parties themselves, but sometimes extended to the near relatives 
of the offenders. They are crafty but not overreaching in their deal- 
ings, covetous for the possession of novelties, although trustworthy 
when any thing is placed under their immediate charge, but not 
otherwise over-honest. 

A transient visiter would hardly give them so high a character, 
and would, I think, have an unfavourable opinion of the race. He 
might, however, award to them intelligence; but they appear vindic- 
tive, and, from a number of facts, must be treacherous. One cannot 
be long among them, without discovering that they are adepts in 
trickery, and suspicious in their dealings. These bad qualities they 
may have acquired from the number of low whites that are among 
them. They seem destitute of any of the higher feelings, such as 
gratitude, tenderness, honour, delicacy, &c. They are extremely 
indolent and dirty, disgusting in their habits, and carry on the infa- 
mous practice of traffic in women, which even the highest chiefs are 
said to be engaged in, openly and without shame. The vice of 
drunkenness does not exist among them to any degree, and it is not 
a little astonishing that the bad example set them should not have 
been more followed. They are extremely proud and resentful of any 
insult, to avenge which the whole tribe usually unites. As an 
instance of this, we may cite the conduct of Ko-towatowa, whose 
hospitality to one of our parties has been recorded. At the invitation 
of the gentlemen who had been indebted to him for attentions, he 
visited them at Tibbey's, when an untoward circumstance occurred, 
which had well-nigh ended in an open affront. As they were seated 

«~J-\ -U+jt i \ \ N fjj w ft 









in the porch of Tibbey's house, one of their thoughtless visiters, hy 
way of affording amusement to the company, played off upon Ko- 
towatowa a boyish trick, by burning him on the nose with a cigar. 
This prodxiced great anger in the chief, who would have at once 
punished the rudeness, but through the timely interference of the 
bystanders, he became appeased, but required some atonement for the 
insult offered him ; a half-dollar was given him, but he said he would 
accept only half, as he did not want to be paid for it, but merely 
desired a token that it had been atoned for. In the opinion of all, he 
rose much above the silly trifler who had been the perpetrator of the 

The natives are peculiarly sensible to any insult of this kind. A 
short time before our arrival, a mischievous white boy, staying with 
our consul, had placed a small brass kettle on the head of an old 
chief, which caused some amusement to the bystanders. The chief 
at the time did not show any signs of being offended. He had always 
been well disposed and peaceable towards the whites, and was known 
to have a strong partiality towards the family. On going to the pa, 
however, he mentioned the circumstance to his tribe, which produced 
a great excitement among them. They assembled and advanced in a 
body to the dwelling, to require satisfaction for the affront offered, 
and although they were told and convinced it was done in playful- 
ness, they required atonement; and this being refused, they took all 
the clothes that were hanging to dry on the lines, and every thing 
they could find about the premises. They even took the shoes and 
clothes off a sick boy, who was lying in the veranda. Their rapacity 
was only stopped by the courage of the mistress of the house, who, 
being unable to check their proceedings by remonstrances, threw a 
billet of wood at the principal chief. This bold act astonished him, 
and from admiration of her courage, caused them at once to desist, 
saying she had a big heart, which is their figurative term for a coura- 
geous person. Insults given in this accidental way, have been known 
to occasion the most deadly feuds. They have, however, great com- 
mand of temper when insulted. As an instance of this, an anecdote 
was related to me of some chiefs having become offended at the Epis- 
copal missionai-ies in consequence of some transaction respecting lands, 
in which they conceived themselves wronged. The offended parties 
proceeded to Pahia in order to demand redress ; but on their arrival 
there, the missionaries were absent, and although the whole property 
was at their mercy, there being no one on the premises but females, 

vol. 11. 106 



they did not harm any thing, and declined to enter into any explana- 
tion until they had seen the missionaries. Taking their seats quietly 
at the gate, they awaited their return, which did not take place for 
some hours after, when they demanded an explanation of the sup- 
posed wrong, and atonement for it; and being satisfied, they departed 
without any molestation or injury whatever. It will, in all proba- 
bility, be said, that such patience was in consequence of the parties 
complained of being missionaries ; but that could not well have been 
the case, for they are by no means popular with the natives, and the 
reason is, that the missionaries show very little regard for their own 
countrymen, which, in the eyes of a New Zealander, is a great crime. 

From all I could gather, I am inclined to believe them an 
observant people, and that they would become an industrious one, 
were it less easy to provide themselves with the necessaries of life. 
They show much energy of character in their warlike pursuits, on 
which their whole minds seem yet to dwell. The spontaneous pro- 
ductions of their soil furnish them so easily with all that is required 
for their food and clothing, that there is no sufficient incitement to 

The New Zealanders are above the middle size, well formed, and 
athletic ; they vary in colour from a chestnut to a light copper ; they 
have black hair, very thick and curly, which many suffer to grow 
long, while others crop it close. I saw few with whiskers, and their 
beards were light. The forehead is high, sloping backwards; the 
nose frequently aquiline and prominent; the eyes are black and 
piercing, but rather small ; the tattooing gives a hardness of outline 
to the chiefs that is not so observable in the common people ; they 
want, however, the softness of the rest of the Polynesian family, of 
which they are a part, not having the full muscles, or soft contour of 
face, which we had hitherto observed among the groups we visited ; 
they are as indolent as the other cognate races, but more capable of 
undergoing fatigue. 


The following is one of their traditions respecting their origin. 
The first natives came from Hawaiki, situated towards the east, in 
several canoes, and the names of some of the principal men, were 
Tanepepeke, Tanewitika, Taneweka, Rongokako, Kopaia, Kornan- 
poko ; the canoes in which they came were called Kotahinui, 
Kotearawa, Kohorouta, Takitima. They settled first at Kawia, on 
the western coast ; near Maketu, Turanga, and Ahuriri, at the east 
cape. The natives, it may be as well to remark, say that this 


story is all nonsense, yet the similarity of the foregoing names with 
those of the people of Savaii, in the Samoan Group, is striking. 
This, connected with the story, which we shall hereafter quote, of 
the introduction of the kumara in canoes, taken together, would 
appear to afford very strong reason for the conjecture that they 
were derived from the same source. In their native traditions there 
appears to be some idea of a creation, having a general resemblance 
to that of the other nations of Polynesia. 

The trade in native curiosities is not quite so great as it used to be, 
particularly in tattooed heads. So great at one time was the traffic in 
the latter article, between New Zealand and Sydney, that, in 1831, it 
was prohibited by law. In Governor Darling's administration of the 
colony, the chief Shougi is supposed to have made large sums by it, 
and there are some persons who, in part, impute his wars to his 
desire of gain ; for, having been in England, he became acquainted 
with the value set upon them, and the demand for them. It is 
generally thought that many of the heads thus sold have been pre- 
pared by the white runaway convicts, who have learnt the mode 
of doing this from the natives. They are still to be obtained, 
though great precaution is used in disposing of them. A missionary 
brig, lying at the Bay of Islands, had many curiosities on board, in 
the possession of the steward ; and after the buying of mats, &c, had 
been finished, he invited our officers to step down to his little store- 
room, under the forecastle, where he had a curiosity which could not 
be brought out. After this mysterious annunciation, they followed 
him to the bottom of the ladder ; he then told them he was about to 
put his fate into their hands, believing that they were too much men 
of honour to betray him. He then proceeded to inform them that he 
had two preserved heads of New Zealand chiefs, which he would sell 
for ten pounds. He could not venture, he said, to produce them on 
board the brig, but if they would appoint a place, he would bring 
them. The penalty for selling them was fifty guineas, and he 
conjured them to the most perfect secrecy. These proved to be 
beautiful specimens, and now form a part of our collections. So 
effectually has the fine prevented this traffic, that it is an extremely 
difficult matter to obtain a head ; they are as rare now as they have 
been common heretofore ; and the last place in which it could have 
been expected to find them, would have been on board a missionary 

The New Zealanders are still cannibals, although in the districts 


where the missionaries reside, they have done much to put a stop to 
this practice. After the arrival of our gentlemen, an instance occur- 
red of a chief having killed a boy about fourteen years of age, as a 
medicine for his son, who was sick ; and as this prescription did not 
effect a cure, a girl about the same age was to be served up, but the 
timely interference of the missionaries prevented it. 

The present condition of the New Zealanders is inferior to that of 
some of the other Polynesian nations. There is, as in other places, 
little or no occasion for labour; the industry of a few weeks is all that 
is needed to supply them with food for the year; their traffic in pigs 
and other supplies to whalers and traders is quite sufficient to procure 
their necessary supply of clothing. It is said their moral condition 
has much improved of late, and that they are becoming sensible of 
the advantages of civilized life. In the former direction there is still 
great room for improvement, and the latter, I should think, as yet 
far above their ideas of honesty and of the obligations they owe to 
those about them. Perhaps those who have become somewhat 
attached to the Christian religion may be a little improved, but the 
only instance that we can recall to our recollection is that of the chief 
Ko-towatowa. The chiefs, however, in general show a growing dis- 
position to acquire comforts about their dwellings, and in comparison 
with the other natives, are almost cleanly in their persons. Industry 
is also making progress in the cultivation of their plantations. If I 
could believe it possible that the dwellings of the lower classes of the 
people had ever been more filthy, or their persons less cleanly, I 
would more readily credit that some improvement had taken place. 
Numbers are said to be able to read and write their own language, 
having been taught by the missionaries, and then have afterwards 
been known to take a pride in instructing others, and to display a 
great eagerness in the acquisition of farther knowledge ; but they 
are far, very far behind, in the rudiments of education, the natives of 
other groups where the missionaries have been established, although, 
as respects natural capacity, they may probably rank higher. 

There is much that is worthy of notice in the missionary opera- 
tions here. They seem to have pursued a different course from 
that followed at the other groups, and appear